It's all about the money 

A proposed 17 percent tuition raise would ask students to unfairly empty their wallets in the name of “shared responsibility”

Last Wednesday in the Student Union Theater, I listened to Chancellor Dan Klaich and Provost John White answer students’ questions about the proposed tuition and fee hike. The committee is proposing a 4 percent increase every year, adding up to a 17 percent increase overall.

At this meeting, we were given fancy outlines with numbers and charts in the hopes that it would explain everything, but I am still confused.

Klaich’s answers to every question were so perfectly scripted that I almost felt like I was watching a play.

Overall, Klaich seemed like a director who was trying to get all the actors (the student body) on board with the tuition increase.

He mentioned the phrase, “shared responsibility,” many times and was kind enough to include a definition in his handout.

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The handout stated, “Tuition and fee levels [reflect] the shared responsibility benefits and needs to the students, the state and the institution.”

With every tuition and fee increase, the students have been the first to add to this “shared responsibility” and are oftentimes the only party that is the major contributor.

So, when are the higher-ups going to take on some responsibility and start pitching in to help fix the gap? When asked if he would take a pay cut, Klaich flat out said no. Then why should students be okay with a tuition and fees increase?

Klaich also talked about the value of a diploma. If the committee keeps up with this behavior of increases, that diploma will not be attainable for many students, particularly those from out-of-state. Because of these proposed hikes, many will have to go back to their home states and continue their education there.

As the meeting ran its course, I was still confused as to where the money would be going and what “operational” needs would be met because, as a student, I have been playing my part in this shared responsibility. What will be my benefits? Better teachers? Shorter lines at the financial aid office? Better food at the Dining Commons?

Outgoing UNLV President Neal Smatresk said that the money from the 8 percent increase in 2011 would be used in “academic and student services.”

Fast-forward to the present, those services are still not reflections of the money that was said to be invested into them.

Lines at the financial aid office still wrap around the building and have an average wait time of two hours plus during the first weeks of school. Where did all this money from three years ago disappear to?

For the proposed 17 percent increase on tuition and fees, the benefit that students see deserves to match the monetary sacrifice they will be making.

UNLV has provided many students, such as myself, with wonderful, life-enriching experiences. It has begun to play a major role in shaping the rest of my future, and I truly value being a student at a school that is so diverse and filled with endless opportunities.

I will not, however, attend a school that continues to place the burden of financing the pay of faculty members and other “operational” costs at the expense of my own education. Something has to change.

One Response to It's all about the money

  1. R

    You fail to understand why the tuition increase is even an option. Over the past several years UNLVs budget (and NSHE in general) has experienced massive cuts by the state government. This is a process that UNLV has been fighting against, however the politicians are too short sighted when it comes to anything regarding education in this state. This resulted in many, many salary reductions and unpaid leaves for faculty. UNLV already has a problem attracting decent teaching talent…and many positions go unfilled for a very long time (similar universities pay professors an average salary thats at least 30% more than the average at UNLV…for less teaching time and bigger research budgets). The earlier tuition increase simply was at attempt to keep services where they were at before the major state cuts, not actually make things better. The new round of tuition increases is only another response to limited state funds. UNLV is at the mercy of the legislature, and the legislature is full of people who DO NOT value education. The unfortunate truth is that the money has to come from somewhere, and the students are considered the most viable option. Don’t blame UNLV, blame your elected officials.


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