Sunday, June 12, 2011

Students Paying Other Students' Tuition

I've been stewing over the news about the University of Washington is proposing raising tuition rates by 20 per cent.

Tuition is skyrocketing because the Legislature has dramatically cut funding to higher education. Over the last three years, the amount of money the UW receives from the state has fallen 50 percent. The UW has eliminated hundreds of positions, cut classes, increased class sizes and frozen faculty salaries for the last two years. Under the current budget, faculty salaries will be frozen for two more years.

College is a very expensive deal nowadays and I appreciate the school has taken steps to help offset the decreased funding from the legislature. Here's the part that really irks me.

In addition, [vice provost Paul] Jenny outlined a proposal to the regents that about half of the money raised through the tuition increase be added to the financial-aid pot. That would raise enough money to cover the tuition increase for the neediest students and also provide enough to award grants of up to $4,000 for as many as 1,000 students, going beyond what the state required for financial aid and helping some middle-class students, Jenny said.

In other words, the students--and parents--that can either afford the tuition or are able to borrow the money to pay for tuition will now subsidize other students.

I can appreciate the need that the neediest students have. And I understand that our state's sales-tax-based economy is hurting in this Lesser Depression (Disclosure: My uncle's site).

But it bothers me a lot that the cost of my child's education is being increased and then half that increase--instead of being an actual cost for my child--is being diverted to someone else.

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