Where does your tuition money go?

What does $780 mean to you?

A new X-Box 360, a Playstation 3 or a Wii? Maybe those little repairs that your car needs? Possibly even a makeover for your room or your wardrobe?

How does it look when it is added on to tuition costs?

This semester, an e-mail was sent to students saying that next year’s tuition will be increasing.

For the 2010-2011 school year, $780 will be added to an already pricey education. However, this increase is fair as the ever-changing economy demands more from everyone.

There have been mixed reactions among students.

While some felt it was unfair and wondered what the money would be used for, others were sympathetic to the facts that Eastern is a private school in a changing economy and that what is enough this year may not be enough for the next year.

“I think rising tuition costs are inevitable for a private institution, especially considering the economic climate,” sophomore Danielle Craig said. “The country is still in bad condition financially. But I know Eastern administrators did all that they could to minimize the increase as much as possible.”

Craig was not alone in this sentiment as others realized that changes typically demand more money to keep things functioning normally.

“I am very happy that tuition is only going up $780, considering the rise in price for all goods and resources that the university requires,” senior Brittani Hales said. “People complain about money but, when they graduate, they do not give back to help alleviate the need for money. Typically it increases $900, so a $780 increase is beyond fair.”

Others still feel that the increase is uncalled for and will affect their financial aid or even their decision to return for the fall semester.

“The e-mail I got said that tuition is going up a full thousand dollars,” sophomore Asia Johnson said, referring to the increase in total tuition costs, which include room and board.

“That doesn’t make me very happy at all, especially coming from a household that can’t afford to pay tuition now,” Johnson said. “I’m not leaving. However, if tuition keeps getting increased, who knows what may happen.”

Other students also felt cornered by the increasing costs.

“It’s terrible, but I can’t afford to leave my senior year,” junior Barbara Brown said.
There has been a mix of emotions spreading across campus, but, to the relief of some fearful students the money is not being spent frivolously.

“What is the money going toward is my question,”  junior Crystal Daughtry said.

“Is it going toward improving student life or a $5000 bonsai tree,” Daughtry said, referring to the tree planted in front of Walton Hall in the fall to commemorate the renaming of The Office of Faith and Practice.

Chancellor Hall eased this worry.

“The increase is occurring to support higher operating expenses caused by inflationary pressures and the higher cost of utilities, health insurance, and information technology,” he said.

According to a graph provided by Hall, tuition is divided between scholarships and student aid grants and lesser known categories including, plant operations and maintenance, instruction, academic support, student services, auxiliary enterprises and institutional support.

“Auxiliary enterprises include residence halls, dining services, summer conferences and programs and athletic facilities,” Hall said. “Institutional support includes our development office (folks who raise money for us), and the expenses we incur for employee benefits. 

“Academic support includes all activities that support academics at Eastern such as the library, academic technology, the registrar’s office, and so on,” Hall said.

While the rise in tuition might come as a shock to some, the extra money is necessary for a school like Eastern to continue to operate, especially in tough economic times.

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