The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Tuition hikes not something to gripe about

A favorite topic of discussion among college students is the high cost of higher education, and CSU students are once again going to be able to gripe about a fee increase. If the CSU Board of Trustees votes in March to institute a tuition hike, CSU students will be able to gripe 10 percent more.

While our esteemed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put more money into the budget to freeze fees last year, there is no such plan in the governor’s proposed budget this year.

Of course, no one likes to pay more for something, and college tuition is an especially sore spot for many. Getting a degree is the gateway to a better life for many people. According to the College Board, the non-profit organization that administers the SATs, college graduates can make 70 percent more than those with a high school diploma.

Even the most meager of fee increases pushes that gateway farther away for many people, and one of the main goals of higher education should be to create a more well-informed populace so as to create a better society. Raising tuition only makes that more difficult, forcing those currently enrolled to give up because the burden is just too much to bear and discouraging new students from even trying.

One of the big reasons students choose CSUN is because of the affordability. The cost of going to a college is becoming a greater factor in the choice to attend that college for many students. According to a study from UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, fewer freshmen are attending their first-choice college, and a little less than half of the freshmen attending their second-choice college were accepted to their first choice, but decided not to enroll.

Even so, the university is still, in many ways, a business. As one administrator told me, CSUN is in the business of educating. Like any business, CSUN has a huge amount of bills to pay. Hundreds of millions of dollars go into running CSUN every year, and the majority of this money comes not from student’s tuition but from the government.

Students complain about even the smallest increase in fees. Last semester, Associated Students proposed increasing fees by $15 for themselves as well as the Instructionally Related Activities fee. Both proposed increases were struck down, and one of the main arguments against the increase was that even that modest increase would make it harder to afford other fees at CSUN.

Let’s be realistic, though. CSUN students paid about $3,000 for tuition during the 2006-2007 school year. While there are plenty of people who complain about how much we pay for our higher education, few people point out the fact that $3,000 is far below the national average of $5,836 for four-year public universities, according to the College Board. It is even below California’s average of $4,560. Even if the probable increase of 10 percent in fees do go into effect, CSUN will still be below both figures.

Perhaps it is time for students to realize that, while our higher education is expensive, we definitely get a great deal out of it, especially at CSUN. Not only do we stand to earn far more in whatever field we may choose simply by virtue of having a degree, many of the programs at CSUN are just as good, and sometimes better, than what you would get at a UC.

Most every student at CSUN is here because they want to be here. Everyone who attends CSUN wants a degree. But all too often we forget that we have to hold up our end of providing the means to earning it. In this case, that means accepting tuition hikes as being as inevitable as homework and essays.

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