Eckburg: A tuition increase is not the answer, students assemble

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Collegian | Chloe Leline

Bella Eckburg, Opinion Director

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Colorado State University’s Board of Governors is planning a tuition increase for the coming year, which will continue to widen the gap between CSU’s costs and the national average for in- and out-of-state tuition. 

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This new tuition increase comes amid a lot of turmoil regarding faculty and staff pay on campus, especially with Colorado’s minimum wage reaching $13.65 this year; however, is CSU really able to justify the rise in tuition considering the value of the degree the students leave with? 

The Associated Students of CSU Speaker of the Senate Nicholas DeSalvo recently shared a petition on his Instagram story from an effort called “Affordable CSU,” which supports paying faculty more money and treating them better; however, Affordable CSU also questions why this is at the expense of students — who have already experienced a tuition increase and several student fee increases — instead of the university itself. 

“I’m sure the money exists elsewhere,” DeSalvo said. “I’m sure there could be more buying or investment from the state to do it or donors to pay faculty more.” 

“I personally feel that a tuition increase would severely damage the student body and would have detrimental effects on the university’s ability to appeal to lower-income students,” ASCSU President Rob Long said. “CSU is a land-grant institution, which means that its top priority should be to remain accessible to the industrial classes. I’m not too certain a tuition increase would keep that priority.”

Rising tuition means more student debt accumulated, as the cost is not cohesive to most incomes in the country. Even if a student works full time through college, they will likely still leave with debt. 

“Increasing faculty pay is the right answer but not at the expense of the most financially unstable groups within our country college students.” -Rob Long, ASCSU president

DeSalvo emphasized the growing cost of higher education, citing Education Data Initiative’s statistic that since 1990, students are paying 130% more in tuition and fees, a percentage that will continue to increase. 

“We’re seeing it’s harder and harder for students to get degrees after they graduate in the field that they received an education in, and on top of that, they have, a lot of the times, student loans and a lot of other debts that they have to pay,” DeSalvo said. “I really don’t want to add more insult to injury that’s my headspace going into this effort.”

CSU students last saw a tuition increase in the fall of 2021, following the pandemic, and this extended to undergraduate, professional and graduate students. Although it is unclear where all of the funds are going to be allocated, a faculty pay increase would be included. 

“The last thing I want this to turn into is pitting students against faculty — especially nontenured faculty — because I 100% believe they need to be treated better by the CSU system, but to do that on the backs of students, … I think it’s wrong,” DeSalvo said. “Faculty, we absolutely support you in your effort for an increase, but I hope faculty also understands the students’ side of things. We’re hurting financially.”

“The CSU Spur Campus (cost) the University system $200 million after they secured it from the state legislature,” Long said. “Increasing faculty pay is the right answer but not at the expense of the most financially unstable groups within our country college students.”

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If you’re interested in signing the petition, you can do so here or by looking up @AffordableCSU on Instagram. This tuition increase comes at a time when it’s more clear than ever that faculty and staff deserve much better treatment. Coming out of a pandemic and making education more inaccessible do not make CSU feel as welcoming to everyone. 

Reach Bella Eckburg at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @yaycolor.