Chris Busby" />
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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Fiscal plan maintains enrollment

It is hard to see room for the five-point plan laid out by Sam Dike, political science senior and Student Government Association president.

With the costly and time-consuming goal of pushing the University to flagship status, there appears to be a conflict of interest between the students and the administration.

Students’ hope to keep costs down seems to directly contradict the administration’s need to grow the University. However, given the complexity of the issue, a first look at the plan can be deceiving.

Dike’s plan is a smart initiative that helps both students struggling with the economy and the University by helping to keep its students enrolled.

The first point calls for a tuition and fee freeze for the 2009-2010 school year. This is probably the most beneficial part of the plan for students, but also the hardest to implement.

With the decline in economic conditions and the possibility of a decrease in funding for the University, the primary responsibility of the administration is to keep the University operational and financially stable.

Yet in a recent interview, both Dike and Alexander Obregon, psychology senior and former SGA Senate speaker, made a strong case as to why the plan helps the University now.

If tuition and fees increase during this time of economic instability, students may be required to cut back on classes or even drop out due to inability to pay rising costs.

If fewer students are able to keep attending school, it hurts the University with the perception of being unaffordable and in decreased revenue from students who would otherwise attend.

‘When tuition is affordable and predictable, it helps to achieve Tier One status,’ Obregon said.

One of the best things for the University in achieving flagship status is to have more students complete their degree plans and graduate in a timely manner.

One of the groups hit hardest is students who file as dependents on their financial aid applications but don’t qualify for assistance because of their parents’ income, and whose parents do not help them pay for college.

Dike made one of the strongest cases for the plan, pointing out the benefit for students in this category.

Dike’s strategy to both implement his plan and deal with the financial crisis relies heavily on reallocation of funds. When talking about the administration, Dike had a favorable opinion of the direction it is taking the school.

‘There has been a lot more accountability since Dr. Khator and Dr. Carlucci took control,’ he said.’

Still, he sees room for improvement in the way funds are spent.

‘We need to be conservative this year so that we can move forward in the future,’ Dike said.

Dike said if the University utilizes funds to the maximum efficiency, it can still withstand decreases in the budget and still implement his plan.

Other points of the plan include a six percent cap on tuition and fee increases for the next two years after 2009-2010. This would remove the possibility of a dramatic tuition increase and give students the ability to plan ahead for increased costs.

If students know the maximum amount they will have to pay, they are better able to determine how to pay for the costs of college and budget to meet that goal.

Perhaps more importantly, the plan includes a graduated tuition. This means the amount students pay for tuition and fees in their first year at the University would be the same annual amount for up to four years of their tenure.

This would give students and their parents the ability to create a simple and easy-to-understand plan on how they will pay for college.

Given the fear among many people coming into college about uncontrollable costs, it would provide reassurance that could very well increase enrollment.

The fourth point of the plan offers students the opportunity to take two classes for the price of one in the Summer School IV session. This would likely increase the number of students enrolled in summer school. The biggest benefit of this portion of the plan would have students graduating in a more timely fashion.

Point five of the plan maintains the ‘Family Contract.’ This part of the plan pays for the tuition of students from families of four or more who earn $30,000 or less.

While the administration is faced with the difficult task of facing the financial crisis, it is important to remember the students are similarly affected.

If students are unable to afford college, then the University will face even greater hardship than it does now. It is true the costs of attending UH are cheaper than many universities around the country. However, the students that attend come in with the expectation of an affordable budget.

Many students have already made financial plans who do not account for the high costs that other university students face.

It is because of this that the administration should continue to work with the students to implement as much of the five-point plan as possible.

Chris Busby is a psychology and English literature junior and may be reached at [email protected].

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