Complaining about tuition increase is futile

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Complaining about tuition increase is futile


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Kevin Coriolan | News Editor

Perhaps you have heard of inflation, the rate at which prices of goods and services rises. Did you also know that in general American university tuitions are rising faster than inflation? Meaning, higher education is asking college students to pay more and more every year, across the nation.

In the case of Buena Vista University (BVU), tuition has increased by 3.25 percent for next year. Most of the BVU students understand this and have actively complained about it out loud and online. Let me tell you, that is not going to change anything.

Not only is BVU an institution that does its best to keep costs low, the entire higher education industry has been raising its costs steadily for decades. Tuition has increased in the country an average of 8% since 2009.

Some may counter that the costs are in fact not low; the campus supports facilities such as the Finkbine Natorium and Peterson Field. I would have agreed until I understood that the luxurious swimming pool and the turf-covered football field were made possible by large donations. It would have been ludicrous for the school to not accept such offers.

What I see as the main cause on campus for increases in tuition year after year is student services. In no way am I upset with that; I did choose to attend BVU for four years and student services have impacted my experience here the most. There just also seems to be a part of going to university these days that makes students think that we deserve so much. We expect to be able to have concerts on campus, receive the best food in the servery, have constant access to information technology, to travel to conferences, and to be safe while doing all of this.

Can you imagine life outside of BVU? As a soon to be graduate, I am struggling to realize that I may not be able to walk the sidewalks without shoveling them myself or go to events like the ones provided by the Academic and Cultural Events Series for free.

We students are given so much during these college years at BVU, making every dollar worth it. This comfortable and lavish life is one that I do not think I will ever get to live again. And the complaints that come with the tuition increase are simply not sound. If you only want an education, if you only want to attend classes to receive your degree, you are overpaying here. However, if you want more than lectures, papers, and exams, BVU offers you experiences and living that millions of people around the world will never imagine.

No one is being forced to go to school here. This is an amazing school, but there are substitutes elsewhere that are less expensive and there are substitutes that are more expensive. The price depends on the demand, and the demand depends on the consumer.

The return on investment is not bad either. Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post explains that in 1967, 4.3 million undergraduates studied full-time in colleges or 2.2 percent of the U.S. population. In 2010, 11.5 million undergraduates or 3.7 percent of the population was enrolled in college. This amounts to about a 70 percent increase in college enrollment. The increase shows that college is not less demanded because of the increasing price.

“We expect the tuition increase to be among the lowest percentage increases in Iowa higher education, a position we’ve been in for several years,” said the announcement from the Office of the President in 2012. It may make students feel less like complaining to see that the past two years the Board of Trustees approved four percent increases in tuition each year making this year’s increase a smaller one.

We can hope for an even smaller increase the year after, but we should expect an increase nonetheless.