Recently I sat down to look over my most recent billing statement from Colorado State University. I did this because I was feeling particularly cheerful that day and needed to depress my wallet and myself.
Fortunately, I was not disappointed. Sure enough, thousands of tuition dollars had been charged to me because I am desperate enough for that piece of paper I will get in only two more semesters. On top of that, I saw I was paying nearly another thousand dollars between general fees this or facility fees that.
However, I was not so jubilant when I discovered that the aforementioned billing statement went on to include something known as differential tuition. This little wonder proceeded to bill me an additional $105 per course, or $525 altogether for this new semester.
I immediately thought this must be some mistake. I never signed up for any differential tuition program, nor did I want any part of it. Plus, why start charging me now during my spring term instead of fall?
Unfortunately, the answers were not easy to come by. Searching the internet for differential tuition at CSU simply gives a few links towards the official website of our university and these links (after labored navigation) only tell you how much you will be charged. Not why you are being charged.
Furthermore, various faculty and staff at the university were equally as unhelpful. I got a definition of what it is, and a bunch of people assuring me that it was not “that bad.”
Still, the quality of my education did not improve from fall to spring, nor did the value of my education from here so why charge me more money?
History and French classes are not the highest in demand. There was no new profound innovation introduced which all of a sudden made French 201 $100 more valuable than French 200. I can only conclude that the reason I am now being charged several hundred dollars more per semester is because my Liberal Arts degree has now become so much more valuable and because History of the British Empire is a class in serious high demand.
Actually, the reason I am being charged more money now is because I have taken enough credits to be considered a junior at CSU, and thus the powers that be have decided that I am going to stick it out for the duration of my studies. So why not hit me with another big fat bill!
Over the last few years here at the university, I have realized that the people in charge of funding for our school seem to only want to find new and creative ways to gouge students out of every cent they do not have.
Indeed I wonder how the Board of Governors and, to be Frank, our university president live with themselves knowing they are literally squeezing everything they can out of the student body just because they are too lazy to find other creative means of funding. Talk about taking the easy way out.
Someday, they will hit a wall, and realize that raising tuition at least 9 percent every year is not going to fly. Someday, the student body will refuse to pay an outrageous increase in tuition while getting nothing new in return.
Also, according to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Colorado State University has increased its resident tuition rate by 56.1 percent over the past five years, the second highest rate in the Colorado during that time.
Perhaps if our president put as much effort into securing $150 million worth of philanthropic gifts for scholarships for students as he does trying to get that money for a university, then our student body may actually be able to go to school without drowning in sea of debt.
Finally, it seems that it should be the responsibility of ASCSU to do something about this madness. I fully support programs that give drunkards rides home, because that is critical to life stuff right there, but maybe if the student body president really pushed the powerful people at this university towards a funding solution that was not simply “Bill the students,” maybe those students would have a little better debt free future so that later their drinking for fun would not turn into drinking to avoid the pain of being broke.
Just a thought.