Skyrocketing tuition costs drain students

Izzie Hayes/Staff Writer

GThese days, the economy is not doing so swell. Gas prices are high as ever, and the job market is lacking. This adds up to create mounting pressure for college-bound seniors who are facing record high tuition prices.

Senior Adam Streicher is concerned with the cost of college.

“It isn’t cheap, that’s for sure. Especially when attending a private college, the costs are pretty steep,” Streicher said.

Tuition prices have skyrocketed over the last few years. Tuition at the state schools increased at 10 times faster than the average family income. With room and board added on, this now reaches an average $15,841 for a public Iowa university.

Public universities were designed to provide an affordable option for students, but many feel that, this ideal is slipping away.

Senior Michaela Lonning feels the pressure of paying for college and is concerned with depending on her parents to pay.

“I feel like you need to have an idea of what you are going into. I definitely feel a lot of pressure to figure out plans ahead of time,” Lonning said.

So what’s driving this massive tuition spike? For public universities, tuition is a direct function of the amount of money given to them by the state government. The schools must pay for faculty salaries, cost of the overhead to maintain the buildings and upkeep of the campus but do so primarily with funding from tax payer dollars.

Over the last few years, the appropriations from the state for the public Iowa universities have gone down. Tuition is the only other source of revenue, so the colleges have raised tuition prices to cover the money they haven’t received from the state.

In 2007, the state covered 49.1 percent of the Board of Regents budget for running the three main universities in Iowa.This current academic year, the state is covering only 37.5 percent of the costs. With a change of over 10 percent in under five years, the price of tuition is only bound to go higher.

Spencer Walrath is currently the Student Body President at the University of Northern Iowa and serves on a board with over 50 other students for the Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG).

“While tuition for the next year is decided in December, we won’t know how much money we’ll be getting from the state until April or May next year,” Walrath said.

Private schools are traditionally not subsidised by the state and must cover most of their costs through tuition prices, which is why their price tags are generally higher than public universities.

No matter what college the students of Cedar Falls attend, it will come at a hefty cost. The guidance office recommends starting early in the financial aid process.

Tracy Javellana from the guidance office knows a lot about the hiding costs of college after sending three of her own children through college. She recommends frequently calling the financial aid and admissions offices and attests that students should remember that “the school works for you. You don’t work for them.”

“This is going to be the second largest investment of your life, other than your home,” Javellana said.

Class of 2014

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