by Alex Bigelow
Money; It’s what makes the world go round. For many students, money is a commodity never in abundance. With the five public four years and all the community colleges increasing tuition to compensate for state debt, how much more can we take before our ends no longer meet?
According to the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, there will be an 11 percent tuition increase for the 2011-12 academic school year. Not only does this affect tuition, but for many students transferring to universities, the increase in tuition is accompanied by cuts in programs as well as consolidation of others.
According to The Western Front’s article, “Western’s budget balancing act,” the programs most in jeopardy at Western Washington University are the computer science program, geology program and the physics program. Nevertheless, tuition increases are still at the forefront.
“I don’t think the debt is worth it,” said Jordan Yous, 20, a student at Whatcom Community College. Yous, who is joining the military after receiving his AA in the spring, says he’s joining to serve his country and to use the GI Bill to pay for further education. “We are the future of America… we decide what happens and smart kids may not have the chance because it’s too expensive,” says Yous. On reducing state funding to in-state students to help solve state debt Yous said, “it pisses me off but it’s a decent solution.”
In-state residents receive a subsidized education making it much less expensive than students paying out-of-state fees. At Whatcom, resident students pay $93 for one-10 credits while non-resident students pay $265 for those same credits.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s article “Number of the Week: Class of 2011, Most Indebted Ever,” graduates of the 2011 class are leaving school with nearly $23,000 in debt, which is up eight percent from last year.
“You can put yourself in debt for the rest of your lives…a lot of people aren’t willing to start their lives with debt,” said Jamie Marillo, 30, student at Whatcom. Voicing her concerns about the pending tuition increases, Marillo thinks fewer people will pursue college educations because of the fear of rising debts. “I haven’t a clue of what to do,” she said. “What choices do I have left?”
Running Start student Sydney Janstch, 16, is unsure what she is going to do once she graduates to a university. “I’ll probably focus on scholarships and student loans to make ends meet,” she said.
Since in-state students get a subsidized education, with part of the cost paid by the state, it has become more economical for colleges to start accepting more out-of-state students who have to pay full price.
According to the Seattle Times article “Why straight-A’s may not get you into UW this year,” “UW made a painful decision to cut the number of Washington students the school will admit this fall to its main Seattle campus and increase the number of non-resident students, who pay nearly three times as much in tuition and fees.”
The question persists: is the degree we attain at the end of our education worth the endless amounts of money we pour into it?