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Tuition increases put squeeze on students; new rates could help

April 4, 1997

The issue:

Tuition

increases

Her view:

Perhaps a change in the rate structure of tuition could ease the

financial strain on students.

Erica Lewis

ast. city editor

Well, it's that time of year again -- registration. As students fret over schedules and advisers make you cringe with thoughts of 18-hour loads, there is another fear resounding in the minds of Baylor students. Money.

Money most certainly does not grow on trees and for those of us footing our own college bills, rising tuition costs are something to lose sleep over. When I entered as a freshman in 1993 the tuition rate was $215 an hour; as of June 1 tuition will go up to $288 an hour. Ouch!

For those who are not mathematically inclined, this increase is substantial. The Baylor Board of Regents decides when tuition increases are necessary.

I understand Baylor is a private school and does not receive state funding, so to keep up with rising costs, tuition has to be raised. A common reason given for tuition increase is the argument that students are taking fewer hours.

I know that I and other University students have enrolled in fewer hours than they wished to take simply because money was tight that semester. Luckily, I am finishing my degree in four years, though many students are unable to do this.

Well, since approximately 70 percent of the University's student body is receiving some form of financial aid this argument may ring a bell. Baylor's tuition is increasing every year to make up for economic factors beyond the University's control.

Financial aid is figured on state and federal levels. Students who attend public schools are eligible for the same amount of financial aid as those who attend private schools. In state schools, tuition is not rising at such drastic rates because those schools receive public funding. Therefore, financial aid usually is more beneficial to students at public schools (when scholarships aren't considered).

My proposal is a tuition break for students enrolled in a certain number of hours. The University could offer a set rate of $288 an hour for students taking less than fourteen hours and a reduced rate of perhaps $250 an hour could be offered for students enrolled in a greater number of hours. Maybe summer school classes could be offered for lower rates as well.

With students receiving lower hourly rates, more classes could be taken and a majority of the students could graduate on the four-year plan. For students enrolled in the theater and music departments, this plan could be very beneficial.

Many students in those programs take in excess of 20 hours a semester. One hour technical labs, voice lessons and music rehearsals make for very tight schedules.

For students in the hard science fields who sometimes take fewer hours due to lengthy labs and tedious schedules, summer school science courses at lower rates could reduce their usual semester workload. Many a biology student has stressed over taking immunology along with microbiology and bacteriology in the same semester.

This plan could work for a lot of students. I am sure tuition planning is not as easy as it seems. But something has to be done before tuition drives out students.

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