The University recently announced that its comprehensive fee will increase to an estimated $54,240 for the 2011-12 school year. While we obviously would prefer for the fee to remain as low as possible, we can understand that a modest increase is inevitable. The University must keep pace with the continually rising costs of providing a quality education.

We recognize the value of the University’s remarkably small classes, we enjoy having speakers such as Paul Rusesabagina and Brian Greene brought to campus, we appreciate the alumni networking events that the Career Development Center puts together, we are grateful to the President’s Office for buying Bison Backers basketball playoff tickets, and we love free printing—but we realize that all of these things cost money. For these reasons, we are willing to put up with rising tuition. If all that we wanted out of our college experiences was the chance to attend class for a bargain, we would not have chosen to enroll at the University.

Still, we hope that the University will continue doing everything it can to make a University education affordable to as many people as possible. The University is already unaffordable to most families without significant financial aid. According to 2009 census data, less than 15% of American households make over $100,000 in income; for most families, $54,240 is a vast sum of money, and for families that must send more than one child to college, it is even more unfathomable.

However, sticker price is not a big deal if the University makes sufficient financial aid available to those who need it, and our experiences have indicated that this is the case. If the University can top its peers in its financial aid efforts, then needy students might actually pay less than at peer institutions, and the difference in sticker price will only be felt by students whose families can afford to contribute more to the University. The University must make sure not to increase tuition so much that it leaves even more families out of reach.

The rising costs of tuition also emphasize just how important it is for students to participate in everything that the University has to offer. Even those receiving financial support must still pay a substantial amount of money to be here; for this reason, students must sure to get their money’s worth out of their college experience.

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