Tuition is what you make of it

By Ben Kaufman

Sports Layout Editor

In my Education 308 class about democracy in education, my group sent out an informal poll about funding in higher education. Some questions included: “Do you think students currently attending higher education are getting their money’s worth?,” “Where do you think your tuition money is going to?” and “Where do you think cuts should be made in higher education?” In response to the first question, one student said: “No. I think I could get the same education at another lower cost school, but I’m paying for my degree to say ‘Bucknell.’”

When it comes to higher education, I personally do not think such a belief is the best reason to decide which college to attend. In the state of our economy, I can understand why people think this. Our university is a prestigious school with alumni in powerful positions. It seems students choose a school for its reputation more so than for the education the school provides. It would be as if I went to an Ivy League school solely to tell my future employers where I attended. In reality, you are going to get out of your education what you put into it; if you explore new opportunities at school, your education is going to be more worthwhile and where you get your degree will not hold such weight. For example, there are two English teachers from my high school who make similar salaries and went to two completely different colleges. One attended Harvard and the other, a state school. There are plenty of occupations in which the same job is available no matter the school attended.

What you receive from your higher education also depends on what you do on campus. I participate in four clubs and have three different jobs, and for this reason, I think our school is going to be worth the tuition because it is allowing me to gain practical experience for the future. From all my experience outside of the classroom, I have gained a lot of knowledge about a potential future for myself. Therefore, I can say I am getting my money’s worth because I am taking advantage of all the opportunities presented to me. There are a lot of people who sit around, don’t do any activities or join clubs, and they wonder why they attend our university as opposed to another school for half the price. Plenty of people say they would be just as happy paying half the price for their education as they would be at our university. One thing that sets our university apart is the experience you have and connections you make while here. It is clear we have a unique environment and a very close-knit campus that provides a great learning environment for both educational and personal growth. But if you are someone who does not take advantage of what our university has to offer, your money may not be in the right place.

It is easy to simply apply and get in to a well-known school solely for the degree once you graduate. Is that really what you want your college experience to be like? You’re not taking advantage of opportunities right in front of your face. If you know what you want to do after you graduate and our university can help you achieve that goal, good for you. But if you are simply applying somewhere because you know it is a prestigious school and want a degree from that school, then you may be taking the place of a student who would be better suited there. For example, I have two friends who both applied to Washington University in St. Louis. One wanted to go there for a writing program, and the other applied as a safety school as he recognized the caliber of a “WashU” degree. Guess what happened? My friend who applied as a safety got in over the other friend who actually wanted to attend.

It is unfortunate when someone doesn’t get in to a school he or she wants to go to. But if you are able to take advantage of the opportunities at the school you are at, then you will be getting your money’s worth.

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