Do you know where your money is going?

By on March 4, 2009

Are Quinnipiac students indifferent about the tuition raise?

I wondered this while reading in the news about the “take back NYU” protestors who barricaded themselves in their cafeteria over the University’s lack of an explanation to its tuition raise. Like Quinnipiac, NYU is a private school and has a reputation for being expensive.

Why is it that students at NYU are making banners and worldwide news over a tuition raise and students at Quinnipiac are barely questioning it?

In a previous interview with The Chronicle, President John L. Lahey explained that the 4.87 percent increase in tuition and room and board is to help recover from the University’s endowment which dropped from $225 million to $175 million (an endowment is capital that provides income for an institution. In short, Quinnipiac lost a lot of money).

That thought brought me back to the NYU story. I had a lot of trouble deciding if the students had merit for protesting their school’s tuition raise. NYU could be like Quinnipiac and really need the money in hard times. It was not until I read this comment in an article in NYU’s student newspaper, The Village Voice, that I was able to form an opinion:

“These people are idiots. I am an NYU grad who will be paying off my loans for another 15 years, but I signed up for it. I passed up a free ride at Rutgers to go to NYU and am footing my own bill as a result. Yes, it’s stupid expensive, and yes, like any private business the executives are rolling in the (your) money. But that’s the real world. Want transparency? Want a cheaper education? Go to SUNY or CUNY. Stop wasting the valuable time of the NYPD, your classmates who are happy to be there, and the media who have more important world events they should be covering. And shut up.”

When I read this I thought, wow, harsh. There are definitely some valid points. Then I thought again, and disagreed. The NYU students are not asking for a tuition decrease, but rather an explanation as to what the money is going toward.

For that I give the NYU students credit. Private institutions have the right to raise prices, but don’t we as a democratic society at least have the right to ask why?

And is that not the exact mistake we made in our economy? We failed to question the ridiculously high salaries executives paid themselves, and now we are paying for their selfishness.

I am not accusing universities of stealing money; I am just making the assertion that we need to stop forgetting to question what is going on around us. Obviously Quinnipiac is not having trouble with transparency because President Lahey openly explained why the tuition was raised.

I just fear that not enough people want to know his answer.

I think if Quinnipiac had sent a notification home in the mail or an e-mail to my parents, I would have known about and understood the tuition raise a lot faster. Like a lot of students, I keep in touch with my parents and I am sure they would have been eager to talk about a newsletter concerning where their money is going. I felt awkward being the first to let my parents know there was a tuition increase.

However, I do feel the responsibility is primarily on the student. I am not suggesting we all sit in the rat and protest the tuition raise; that would be absurd. I just think the fact that nobody understands or seems to care about where their (or their parents’) money is going is frightening.


About Lindsay Roberts