Monday, April 26, 2010

Is a zero percent tuition increase a good thing?

I can't really apologize for a lack of posts, since I've actually been blogging quite a bit the last couple weeks. I guess I could apologize for a lack of SGA recap blogs. I haven't really stuck to my usual format for the last several weeks. Well, I'm really not going to do that this time either.

I'm going to look at Concord University's Board of Governors recent decision to have a zero percent tuition increase and what ramifications that could possibly have.

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Under the urging of Gov. Joe Manchin, Concord University's Board of Governors voted to approve a zero percent tuition increase for next academic year, along with a 2.99 percent room & board increase. Click here to read The Concordian's coverage.

There are two ways to look at this - the first is to see "zero percent increase" and say "Cool, I don't have to pay any more money this summer." The second way to look at it is to think to yourself, "How is that going to work?"

For the 2010-2011 year, the tuition is going to be the same as the 2009-2010 year. However, "things" (bills, living expenses, supplies, etc) are not going to stay at last year's levels. How is Concord going to manage that?

There could be budget cuts. If there's a (non-teaching) department that can function with 5 people instead of 6, maybe they'll look into that. Maybe they'll cut programs. Maybe they really don't need that Spanish major. Maybe they don't need a student newspaper.

Maybe Concord will lower their admission standards and allow more students in, which would give them more people to charge tuition towards. But, doing that would create another "housing crisis" that we've had the last few years.

The biggest problem here is that Concord will potentially have a larger increase next year, when it comes time to vote on tuition.

In the Concordian article I linked earlier, it is mentioned that 1981 was the last year that Concord had a zero percent tuition increase. When I was Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian (07-08), I printed a list of all the tuition increases that I could find. I believe the earliest year I could find was 1977 or 1978 and it went all the way to 2007. I had the story about the possible tuition increase and then I had a box off to the side with all the numbers in it. And, yes, 1981 had a zero percent increase. But, what surprised me was that 1982's increase was something like 20 percent.

I don't think Concord will vote for a 20 percent increase next year, but it wouldn't surprise me to see something in the neighborhood of 10 percent.

This story is still fresh. It needs time to develop. We'll know more about what could possibly happen next year in the coming months.

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There's a couple thoughts I had off the top of my head. I'll try have another post sometime on Monday about some SGA-related happenings. I have some thoughts on Spring Fling, the recent "Justice Fiasco," and Concord's dining area recently going trayless for Earth Day festivities.

If you have any thoughts about the zero-percent tuition increase or would like to add anything, feel free to do in the comments section. As John Walsh says, you can remain anonymous.

As always, here's my disclaimer -

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.

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