Fixed tuition puts students in a bind
It’s no secret that the act of paying for college tuition is exhausting. Students must first fill out an extended questionnaire on FAFSA that seems to ask everything from one’s estimated income to the name of their future unborn child. Secondly, students have to continually check for the email notification telling them that their financial aid has finally arrived, only to have this money quickly inhaled by tuition fees.
Even though this process is time-consuming and reminds students of the mounds of debt they will be buried under after graduation, it is the education we pay for. College is ridiculously expensive, but it’s more beneficial for our future.
Still, with the handfuls of money being pulled from our broke little hands, it’s good to know exactly how much is being taken.
Colleges have begun to take notice of the financial woes of students. Freezes on college tuition rates are starting to take off across the country. Students are sick and tired of seeing their college tuition rising every year with mandatory fees, so some college boards are freezing these rates.
While this idea is not new — colleges have been periodically freezing tuition for short intervals of time — people are hoping that it becomes an idea that will remain effective for long periods of time.
One college on this list is The Art Institute of Houston and its other branches. In a press release by artinstitutes.edu, this system of schools announced that “it will not raise tuition through December 21, 2015 for existing students and any new student who enrolls prior to or for the September 30, 2013 class start.”
This sounds like a good initiative that should be considered for UH. While the cost of college is still expensive no matter what, at least students attending these universities don’t have to worry about inflations in tuition — at least for the 2013-2014 year.
UH does have a similar initiative to freezing tuition: fixed-tuition rates. The problem with this plan is that fixed-tuition rates are only for a select period of time. These rates can be selected by incoming freshmen, and they may receive these unwavering rates only as long as they graduate on time.
An online article by the Houston Chronicle clarifies what universities consider “on time” to be. Students must complete 30 hours per year and must graduate in four years to receive this fixed rate.
While this plan may sound doable to some students, it seems hectic to others. There are many variables that could come into play to prevent a student from graduating in exactly four years. In addition, a fixed-tuition rate is only beneficial for students who register for this plan as incoming freshmen. Tuition freezes, on the other hand, are available for the entire college — no matter their year.
Another reason this initiative should be considered is because the cost of being a Cougar is slowly rising. Tuition fees available on uh.edu show that the cost per semester hour for each college has been raised every school year since 2011. I’m also assuming that the yearly cost raise probably did not begin in 2011, but has been going on for an extended period of time.
I propose that UH be the next school to join the frozen tuition costs. It is possible, after implementing it, that the University would extend the initiative. It is good that UH at least offers fixed-tuition costs, but I believe a tuition freeze would be more beneficial and encouraging to students on a financial budget. Universities should put more merit on the knowledge and GPA of the graduating students rather than the speed with which they exit school.
Senior staff columnist Kelly Schafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org