Auburn University agreed on a 2.5 percent tuition increase April 17, with the increase starting in the fall of 2015.
Auburn also announced the kick-start of its billion-dollar campaign on April 18, “Because This is Auburn,” with a $57 million donation, the largest donation in school history. At its launch, the campaign had raised $775 million.
This donation amount could have affected the tuition increase.
Naturally, donations are not given to the University as a whole. Some donations are appropriated to certain colleges and facilities at Auburn.
However, these donations could have freed up resources previously dedicated to those sections, allowing the University to move some of its budget to areas it was lacking in and may have enabled the University to not raise tuition.
In no way are we saying donors should stop giving to the University.
Any and all donations are welcome and needed.
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Tuition rate increases, however, are slowly becoming unaffordable.
The last time the University went two years without a tuition increase was in 1990.
Granted, some increases like this year’s 2.5 percent increase are minimal, especially compared to other schools. The University of Georgia increased its tuition by 9 percent in April.
Yet the gradual increase is slowly strangling students’ already slim pockets and increasing student loan debt.
Students should not have to worry that they will spend half their adult lives and incomes paying off student loans.
While it is understandable that with changes in technology and inflation rates tuition would increase, there is a limit to the amount students can afford.
In 2014, The Education Trust ranked Auburn University in the bottom 5 percent of universities and colleges nationally in their ability to provide access to lower-income students.
Auburn University states on it’s diversity webpage that diversity is a core value of the institution, but continual tuition increases and a poor ability to provide for low-income students diminishes that value.
This year, Auburn University has also received more funding from the state than last year.
In Auburn’s executive summary, the University received $245,452,175 in state appropriations in 2014-15, compared to $242,758,767 in 2013-14.
The combination of more state funding, a larger donation pool and a capped student body should have meant tuition rates could have at least remained the same.
At the very least, the University should use this increased budget to re-evaluate their spending so students and faculty can benefit the most from these donations and so the University can try and figure out a way to stabilize tuition rates.
Auburn University is a wonderful place for students to continue their education. Rising tuition rates could deter potential students from experiencing Auburn and all that it has to offer.
Auburn, save the student body’s savings, stabilize the budget and stop continual tuition increases.
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