Tuition increases, my wallet ceases

Tuition+increases%2C+my+wallet+ceases

Lorain Watters, Assistant News Editor

With the proposal being sent to the UT Board of Regents on the 23rd, all I can think about is “why did I decide to double major?”

Like many students before, the appeal to loans was irresistible. Being given “free money” for school and necessities without having to pay for it upfront seemed like a godsend at the time.

But with interest rates and pulling out more money to make up for the increase, I’m only dreading my last semester rather than enjoying my senior year. I am being squeezed for money before I leave the university.

Part of the reason for the tuition increase is so the university can reach tier one status, but the other part is because the state has lost funding and subsidies for higher education.

Governor Rick Perry introduced an autonomy bill in 2003, meaning universities can set their own tuition rates, which led to students paying more money for the same education.

Since then, tuition has only increased at universities statewide.

UTEP was ranked No. 7 in the nation for social mobility, but only because the university has students who come from poor backgrounds—such as Segundo Barrio or Ciudad Juárez.

Increasing tuition to reach tier one prevents those students from coming to the university and leads to them looking for an education elsewhere.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 20 million Americans attend college each year, and 12 million of those attendees borrow annually.

The Federal Reserve Board of New York said that 37 million student loan borrowers have outstanding student loans, as of 2012.

Institutional funding depends on enrollment growth and if students cannot afford to come to UTEP because of the increase, UTEP will not receive the proper resources.

The Texas government does not support higher education. Whereas attending a university was seen as an opportunity for all, now it is seen as a privilege if you have the money for it.

I believe that getting an education at a university should be accessible for everyone, and not just those who happen to have the money.

If the UT Board of Regents shoots down the proposal, students will save a couple hundred dollars, which could be used to start paying back loans or for rent.

If it is approved, then this might deter students from attending UTEP at all, ridding us of the chance at tier one.

By the looks of it, the proposal will follow through since other UT schools have already announced that their tuition will increase for the coming semester.

The increase will leave students paying an extra $200 for tuition and fees, this is on top of the other costs students have to deal with on a regular basis—gas, books, rent, etc.

I can only hope that I get financial aid for my last semester without having to pull out another loan. I will be graduating UTEP owing them more than $30,000 and I’m not sure if my degree is even worth that much money.

Enjoy your full bank accounts now because they may be at zero for a while once the fall semester starts.

Lorain Watters may be reached at [email protected]