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The Globe’s Point – The great tuition increase paradox

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A few weeks ago we at the Globe wrote an editorial titled “Tuition increase an annual upset.” In the piece, we chronicled student frustration concerning unexplained tuition increases.

Due to the inquisitive nature of the editorial, the Globe received an email an audience with university President Paul Hennigan concerning the piece. Two of our editors met with the public relations director and Hennigan himself. We were then given an invitation to come back with formalized questions that would hopefully provide us with clarity.

As a staff, we anticipated this interview for a long time. We prepared a list of substantial questions in order to make the increase’s purpose as clear as possible for our readership.

In this week’s edition, we published a story based on the interview we conducted with President Hennigan.

During the meeting, Hennigan chronicled the expanding need for financial aid and expressed that over half of the tuition increase was funneling straight into aid to assist students in their college journey.

Personnel, health care and utility costs were listed as additional contributing factors to the divide between expenditures and revenues. Last year, the increase was 2.9 percent. This year that number hopped up to 3.9 percent.

We were left scratching our heads.

Don’t get us wrong, we were grateful for the chance to sit down with two very powerful administration members, and fortunately we were given clarity as to where half of the tuition increase was going. The interview was warm in nature and we were regarded as professionals and treated competently.

We were still left questioning the paradoxical relationship between the need for increased financial aid and the increase of tuition. If we’re paying more, aren’t we going to need more financial assistance? This was the question at the forefront of our minds.

We weren’t looking for a magical answer that would solve our monetary problems. We weren’t looking for the secret to reversing inflation. But we were left longing for a clearer answer than simply “that’s how it is.”

We do take solace in this: at the conclusion of the interview, Hennigan said the value of a college education lies in the experiences students gain from fully engaging with all that college offers. Value is derived from gaining experience, and we couldn’t agree more.

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