SGA promotes tuition plan
The Student Government Association visited two sororities and three fraternities Monday night to present their five-point-plan regarding possible tuition increases next fall.
"We’re trying to really change the way our tuition scheme works at this school," SGA President David Rosen said.
Rosen, SGA Vice President Samuel Dike and SGA Honors College Sen. Jonas Chin spoke to sororities Chi Omega and Alpha Chi Omega and fraternities Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Pi Kappa Alpha.
Rosen, Dike and Chin said the five-point-plan started out with freezing tuition at its current level for the 2008-09 school year. Since tuition deregulation in 2003, tuition overall has gone up by 45 percent, Rosen said, and the smallest per-semester increase since then has been the 6.9 percent hike implemented last June.
"(Tuition is increasing) about as fast as gas prices," Rosen said, "and that’s not acceptable seeing as how this is a public school."
Rosen and Dike were two of the four student representatives on the Tuition and Fees Review Committee, which also contains administration and staff members, and presented their proposals at a meeting Thursday.
After the tuition freeze, tuition rates for incoming freshman would be locked for four or five years for "guaranteed tuition," Rosen said.
"The first semester will be the same rates they pay every semester until they graduate for four or five or six years," he said.
Rosen and Dike said that after that, the plan would be to cap year over year tuition increases at six percent, meaning that tuition would be at a fixed rate for each class starting with the 2008-09 school year. The plan also calls for cutting summer tuition rates in half so students can get a "two-for-one" deal with their summer courses.
Rosen, Dike and Chin said another goal in the five-point-plan is to increase the amount of money for the Family Contract, a contract that ensures any student whose family makes less than $25,000 annually will have his or her tuition paid for by need-based scholarships or the Pell Grant pending approval by the Free Application For Federal Student Aid, to $30,000.
"We want to see that $25,000 go to $40,000," Rosen said," and (the administration) has already tentatively agreed to $30,000."
Dike said this plan is important for those students who work their way through college or even students who have jobs.
"With our plan, it values the students that pay their way through school or have jobs because the cost of school will be stable, so you’ll be able to have job stability and you can take summer school classes for half the price so you can finish on time," Dike said. "We feel like our plan envelopes all students."
Rosen said if students want to get involved or show support of the five-point plan, they can log on to social networking Web site Facebook and find the "Join SGA in Its Fight to Freeze Your Tuition" group. The group features an outline of the five-point plan and a schedule of where the SGA will be speaking to other on-campus organizations throughout coming weeks.
"We really have to get our students active in the political realm," Dike said. "We have to stand up and tell our state law makers that it is imperative that we fund our institutions for higher education at the level they should be – not just for enrollment but for our institutions to grow in stature and to work."