Financial burden wrongly placed on students


The Appalachian Online

The Appalachian

Appalachian State University’s tuition is set to increase another five percent, as it has for quite a few years now. No doubt it would be increasing more quickly if there were not a cap.

With the defunding of the university system, tuition and fee increases are virtually unavoidable if the universities are to continue. Politicians seem to view the university system as a business, looking to cut “unprofitable” programs, to see how well it can function given a minimum of funding. The program prioritization that occurred at Appalachian last year, though not initiated by outside forces, is an excellent example of how this mindset subverts the purpose of a university.

There must be a way to decrease the burden on students.

The Board of Governor’s website states that most of the tuition – 41.55 percent – is going to faculty and staff retention, which I fully agree with. Once again, I believe that the university system deserves more funding than it is currently receiving. I just disagree that an increase in tuition is the way to fix the problem.

How do we deal with this? We cannot avoid that the hikes are needed to make up for the decrease in funding. But why doesn’t the legislature restore funding back to previous levels? Why is the financial burden being placing on the students?

This, coupled with the fact that the meeting discussing these changes was set during an exam week, shows a disregard for the voices and needs of the students. The Board of Governors needs to realize that the reason for the university system is to educate, to promote thinking and research. North Carolina has a public university system so that these goals can be easily accessible, even to those of low-income. Increasing tuition is abandoning that, is making going college seem harder to attain.

While need-based aid will increases with this increase in tuition, there are people who do not qualify for a lot if any need-based aid but still cannot afford to pay for college. These people will be unable to attend or will have to begin their adult lives in debt because the legislature is refusing to realize how important the university system is.

The legislature is wrong to continue to defund the university system and to place the burden on the students. This is not how a public university system should be run.

Malcolm, a junior history major from Walkertown, is an opinion writer.