Holidays may bring gift from university: increase in tuition

It’s about that time again. There is a chill in the air, and the holiday season is upon us. Only one month stands in the way of Thanksgiving, and Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa aren’t far behind.

It’s that magical time when holiday music merrily plays on the radio, and you can experience the joy – or dread – of holiday shopping and elaborate window displays. That time to pull out your scarves and coats and anticipate the white twinkle lights soon to adorn University Park Village. The general spirit of holiday cheer leaves us all feeling warm inside despite the dropping temperatures outside.

It is also that special time of year when you can expect an e-mail or letter informing the student body that tuition is once again rising 8 percent, or maybe 10 percent?

Merry Christmas mom and dad, you don’t mind paying a few thousand dollars more for my education next year, now do you?

Or perhaps this holiday season will find you at your bank preparing to take out yet another larger loan for the next school year.

For upperclassmen, the imminent tuition increase should come as no shock as the last two years resulted in annual 8 percent increases.

Yikes.

Does this pattern indicate that a 10 percent increase is looming in our very near future?

The New York Times recently reported that colleges nationwide are also raising tuition rates.

The alarming fact is that tuition rates are rising at more than double the rate of inflation.

Ouch.

How does TCU compare? Last year TCU tuition and fees rose 8 percent; the national average for private four-year colleges was 6.3 percent, according to data released by College Board.

College Board also reported that room and board continues to rise with tuition.

For all the apathetic students who think $1,500 or $2,000 increase is small and reasonable, consider that the tuition for the 2005-2006 school year – my freshman year – was $21,280.

Compare that to the current tuition, $24,820.

If tuition rises only 8 percent rather than 10 percent – we’ll give administration the benefit of the doubt here – tuition will be $26,805 next year.

If the 8 percent increase continues, and fails to rise or fall, current freshmen can expect to pay $31,264 for their senior year tuition, not including room and board, which is also increasing.

That is almost a $10,000 increase in six years.

To me, this is enough to dampen holiday cheer. So, when you seem to be at the peak of holiday delight and you cheerfully check your e-mail or mailbox, don’t be surprised when you receive a stately-looking letter from the chancellor’s office.

Tuition is about to go up, and you’ve been warned.

Megan Vroman is a junior political science major from Thousand Oaks, Calif.