Tag Archives: Tuition

(Photo courtesy of USF)

The Cost of a USF Education Will Grow Next Year

USF President the Reverend Stephen A. Privett, S.J. announced a tuition rate increase of 2.9% in an email to the USF community last Wednesday. The USF Board of Trustees approved a yearly tuition rate of $40,996 for full-time undergraduate students.

“USF is working very hard to keep tuition down,” said Provost Jennifer Turpin. “Every year we meet with the Student Senate to discuss tuition and review the next year’s tuition. We’ve had the lowest tuition increases in our history over the past three years.”
The cost of living at USF has also swelled to $4,475 (compared to last year’s $4,170) for a standard double room per semester and $2,185 (compared to last year’s $2,130) for the meal plan.

“It is frustrating,” said Annie Toffoli, a freshman nursing student, “but I hope the extra money goes to improvements in the dorms or to current students for more aid.”

Along with the tuition hike, the Board of Trustees also approved an increase in the amount of financial aid the university awards from its own funds. In the next academic year, USF will grant $69.5 million to eligible students. According to the email that announced the tuition rate increase, it will “help ease the burden of these increases.”
“It seems counterintuitive,” said Emily Meyers, a freshman media studies student. “Why not just keep [the rate] the same?”

Danielle Maingot, a sophomore communication studies and advertising student from the Bahamas, said that the tuition increase is especially frustrating for international students like herself that have to pay full tuition because they aren’t eligible for need-based financial aid.

“For some, it determines if they go home for Christmas or the summer,” Maingot added.

The USF Board of Trustees approved a yearly tuition rate of $40,996 for full-time undergraduate students.

USF graduate Rachel Khoo 14’, an international transfer student, said that even though she valued her Jesuit education, her international status limited access to most scholarships and put more stress on her parents, who were paying full-tuition for her to attend USF. “Coming from Malaysia, USF fees and living costs are incredibly high,” Khoo said.

Nick Wu, a sophomore entrepreneurship and accounting student from China said that he understood the tuition hike because professors need to be paid more to account for the increasing cost of living in San Francisco. “But I think USF should consider providing some scholarships or financial aid to international students because it feels kind of unfair for us that we can’t apply to any scholarships, even if we have really high academic grades.”

In regards to international students’ eligibility for scholarships, Turpin said: “international undergraduates whose sponsors are no longer able to  meet the commitment made on the Certification of Finances may be able eligible to apply for tuition assistance.”

This article was mentioned on SFist // Photo courtesy of USFCA on Flickr

freepressusfonline

Staff Editorial: New Price For College Tuition: $0

Tennessee Gov. understands education is a right. Why don’t we?

The stress of college begins for many students and their families long before the first semester. College prices (room, board, and tuition)  have risen 42% for public, and 31% for private universities from 2000-2011, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. With the unbelievably high price of college tuition, students are expected to delve deep  into their own (or their parent’s) bank accounts for a good education.  For most, this means loans taken out and massive debts accrued, or the alternative — foregoing higher education completely. We at the Foghorn do not believe these are good options; thankfully, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam recently proposed a simple solution: make college free.

Education is a human right that should not be limited by a student’s financial situation. In order to make for a more progressive society, we must ensure free and easy access to a higher degree. As stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ (UDHR) Article 26: “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.” Haslam’s Tennessee Promise serves to fulfill this basic human right outlined by the UDHR, a right that has largely been ignored in this country.

The “Tennessee Promise” was proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam during his State of the State address on Monday, Feb. 3 2014. The promise was a big one — two free years of either community college or or technical school for high school graduates in the state of Tennessee.  If Gov. Haslam’s promise is fulfilled, Tennessee would be the only state in the country with free college. The initiative is important for Tennessee especially, one of the least-educated states in the country where less than one third of residents have a two-year degree, according to NPR.

At first Haslam’s plan seems a grandiose dream, one that raises more questions than it answers. The biggest question of all — if the students are not paying for college then who is? The answer, according to Haslam, is the state’s lottery where an excess amount of cash is generated to the tune of $300 million. “Net cost to the state, zero. Net impact on our future? Priceless,” Haslam said at the address.  Haslam’s plan is a breath of clean air in a polluted education environment — an environment that caters to the wealthy while indebting, or excluding, the less fortunate. Haslam has a feasible plan to offer free education in this country.

However  it is shocking that we are so behind other countries in terms of free education. Countries like Germany, Sweden, and Ireland (just to name a few) all have free education for their people. Does our Government place lesser value on higher education? During his first joint address to Congress in 2009, Obama stated that the United States “should once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” How will this goal be achieved if many in this country can not afford it?

Attending college might not be right for every person, but having access to it should be a right for every person. The Foghorn hopes Gov. Haslam’s enthusiasm for free education proves contagious, and it spreads across the rest of our country.

PinkItem

How to Tell if College is Worth the Struggle

As I look forward to graduating next semester, I have begun to ponder over my journey through college as a financially independent student. Two-and-a-half years at USF and five figures in student loan debt have raised the inquisition of whether it has all been worth it.

Has it been worth it? For me, it most certainly has. My grandmother was always my example of just how valuable the pursuit of an education is. As a single mother who, alone, raised six kids, she put herself through college and went on to become a teacher. She has never questioned the tough fiscal decisions she had to make to allow her to continue her education. It was a lifelong investment that would not deteriorate in value and whose worth was based on her own subjective experience. I too share that view.

I realize that when my grandmother was going to school in the sixties, economic factors surrounding education were entirely different. However, my struggle reminds her of her own and vice versa. Her stories of barely being able to keep her lights on, of the fatigue of working three jobs as a full time student, were all worth it to her — and to me — in exchange for a quality education.
To really get an understanding of whether college is worth it to you or not, you have to ask what are your expectations are from attending college. Is college simply a means to an end? Can you see yourself being successful without going to college? What about going to college will motivate you to grow into the person you wish to be?

I must be clear in stating that seeking an education is possible outside of the confines of a university or collegiate institution. While the resources that are available to a student within these settings are unparalleled compared to those of the independent scholar, to be educated and to attend college are not always synonymous, contrary to popular belief.

For me, a college education is not worth the cost if one expects to learn what to think as opposed to how to think. Struggling to come up with tuition because you’ve been told that’s the only way you can get a decent job is not a reason to attend college. I would not willingly suffer the sleepless nights of thinking about how to repay future loan interest just so that I can work a job I hate for the rest of my life. If those were my expectations, I would not be at this university today.

So is college worth its cost? Yes and no. The answer you arrive at will depend entirely on what it is you hope to gain from your experience and your certainty that the institution you’ve invested in is necessary in helping you make those expectations a reality.

Want Justice? Equality? Get the Low-Income into Good Colleges

An article entitled “Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor,” published in the New York Times found that America’s “talented,” high-achieving poor are failing to make it into our country’s better colleges and universities.

Of the roughly top 4% of graduating high school seniors from the lowest fourth of the income range, only 34% attended selective colleges. Compare this against a selective college attendance of 78% for high-achieving students in the top income quartile, and we find that academically talented, poorer students are half as likely to go to a good college as their richer counterparts.

These are not just numbers; these findings point to a key source of socio-economic disparity in America. After all, if access to the best colleges and universities in the United States is largely out of the reach of even the most qualified low-income students, what other ways are there of breaking cycles of poverty, racial inequality, and disenfranchisement?

The causes of this situation are complex and not easily understood — even the study’s authors recognize this. However, institutions of higher education need to recognize that keeping a quality college education within the comfortable reach of the many, not just the privileged few,  must come to be their top priority. Ultimately, education is the most effective way to combat cancerous, persistent prejudices and to close gaps of many kinds, including wage, gender, and racial.

For colleges, specific steps to increase the representation of low-income students might include intensifying efforts to recruit students among the rural and suburban poor (in addition to searching for students living in select urban areas, like New York and Los Angeles), simplifying and standardizing the process of obtaining financial aid (rather than having students navigate the jungle of disparate deadlines and forms to even be considered for aid at a school), and employing other ways to recognize promising high-school students outside the traditional and increasingly costly commercial avenue of the College Board, which administers the SAT and Advanced Placement programs on which college admissions offices too heavily rely.

It goes without saying that these measures can only supplement the meat of any effort seeking to bring the “talented poor” onto a campus: a vigorous financial assistance program that is, ideally, a combination of private backing and robust public funding. No amount of aggressive recruiting will do much good if the price is too high.

Skyrocketing tuition, high costs of living and rent, and challenging job prospects discourage a sobering majority of low-income high-achievers who look at selective colleges — traditionally, the sure path to personal and community success — and see something unattainable. This needs to change, or the dream of a just, equitable society succumbs to the threat of a world divided into the educated wealthy and an underclass structurally shut out of a world-class post-secondary education.

Potential Cuts to Cal Grant May Leave Students out of USF

USF students who receive the Cal Grant state financial aid might see a reduction in money they are awarded if Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to cut aid for the grant is passed.
On January 5, California’s governor introduced his proposal to reduce the deficit in the state budget for 2012-2013.
The proposal contains provisions that would reduce Cal Grant amount given to students at independent, non-profit California colleges and universities from the maximum of $9,708 to $5, 472, a decrease of 44 percent. The proposal would also raise the grade point average (GPA) requirements for both Cal Grant A and B. The GPA requirement for Cal Grant A, which students in private universities and state schools receive, would be raised from a 3.0 to a 3.25. The GPA requirement for Cal Grant B, primarily awarded to students in city college, would increase from a 2.0 to a 2.75.
According to a report released by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) on December 5, 2011, Cal Grant expenditures are expected to reach 1.5 billion this year—an increase of 85 percent from the past four years. As of 2011-12, there were about 244,000 Cal Grant recipients and an overall $1,506,000 in funding.

USF Students Depend on Cal Grant

Currently, 70 percent of USF students rely on some form of financial aid.
Hector Martinez, a first year Business Administration student said USF was one of his top college choices because of the generous financial aid package he was awarded.
“The Cal Grant is something that has been there for me this first year and something that I have relied on. If that was to be taken away then I would have to find new ways to try to get that money, and that would be in the way of looking for more scholarships or having to work. That would make it more difficult for me to reach my goals here at USF.”
Martinez, who aspires to be a company CEO, said he would try to continue his studies at USF despite the challenges that might present if his Cal Grant award were reduced or taken away.
“I have the will to keep struggling here no matter what it would take but it would be really difficult to continue without the help from the Cal Grant.”
If the Governor’s proposed budget were to pass, 943 current USF students would be affected, not including the new incoming students that would have been Cal Grant recipients.
In addition, if the proposal is approved, students attending private schools may no longer be able to afford a private education. If more of these students chose to attend public universities, overpopulation levels at UC’s and CSU’s would increase significantly. Subsequently, state expenses would increase because California would pay more to subsidize them. This counteracts the governor’s attempt to reduce the state deficit.
At USF, the university recently approved a tuition increase of 3.9 percent for the 2012-2013 academic year. However, the university has also said it will increase its efforts to help students finance their education at USF by providing $58 million of its own funds in financial assistance, an increase of 7.8 percent from last year.
Dean and Director of Enrollment and Financial Services Susan Murphy said she recognizes Cal Grant recipients come from low and middle income families, and that the aid they receive from the Cal Grant program makes it possible for them to attend USF and other California universities.
“If the state budget passes with any of the proposed Cal grant changes, our goal will be to keep Cal Grant recipients enrolled and on track to graduation,” Murphy said.
One of the ways USF plans to increase the amount of financial aid it awards is through alumni donations. The Interim Alumni Relations Director Cortés Saunders Storno said she is planning on contacting alumni who benefitted from Cal Grant assistance during their time at USF.
The university is also collaborating with the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) to bring students to a Save the Cal Grant rally at the state capital on Wednesday March 7.
Director of Financial Aid Services and Operations Norman Caito sent an e-mail to the USF community on February 14, urging students to contact state legislators and the governor to avoid cuts to the Cal Grant. He also encouraged current Cal Grant recipients to contact him, since they will have priority in the transportation USF will provide for the state rally.
Hoping Cal Grant recipients share their stories outside the governor’s office in Sacramento Caito said, “We have every intention of having our voices be heard, and impacting any decisions that are made regarding these cuts before they are even voted on.”
Possible revisions to the state budget are expected in May. The legislature will approve the final state budget in early June.
USF Students Advocate Cal Grant Assistance
Caito spoke to ASUSF senate two weeks ago, and is collaborating with ASUSF Senate adviser Greg Walcott and members of student government to increase awareness about this issue on campus.
Student of Color Representative Sascha Rosemond is participating in the committee working to address this issue. She said one of her major concerns is that cuts to the Cal Grant would decrease access students of color have to obtain a college education, especially at private universities.
“If people want to continue to see diverse campuses, and believe that everyone deserves the right to a private education, then they should support the cause,” Rosemond said.

ASUSF president Lex Wochner said he feels personally affected by the threat of Cal Grant cuts because he has friends that are Cal Grant recipients.
“Imagine losing your best friend because they had to move home and discontinue their education. Now imagine having never had the opportunity to meet them in the first place. This may sound dire, but this is the reality of what these cuts could potentially mean for us as students,” Wochner said.

To find your legislator’s contact information visit http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html
Cal Grant recipients interested in attending the Save the Cal Grant rally Wednesday March 7 should contact Norman Caito at caiton@usfca.edu to arrange transportation.

Pell Grants Under Threat of Being Cut

In this age of fiscal uncertainty, few are immune from the government’s growing commitment to fiscal restraint. USF students could be hit next if Pell grants get cut. The federal debt-reduction committee tasked with locating $1.2 trillion in cuts and possible revenue increases to the federal budget over the next decade may shrink the government assistance program that has served as a vital source of financial aid for many at USF. The need based grants can total up to $5,550 per semester, and in assisting almost 30% of USF students with their tuition costs, it is the largest source of financial assistance for USF students.
To inform students of the potential danger to the program, Provost and Vice President of Academic affairs Jennifer Turpin sent an email out two weeks ago asking supporters to sign a petition to block any cuts to the program. The petition is being supported by lobbying organizations such as the Student Aid Alliance, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and 61 other higher education associations. The petition has drawn 48,661 supporters as of Saturday.
Asked what he thought of the possible cuts, USF Junior Raffi Bezdikian said it was unfortunate that the U.S. government would “rather drop bombs on people … than invest in our future by educating the public.”
It is unclear how much of an effect such efforts will have in swaying the committee in favor of a particular outcome. Various advocacy organizations have undertaken assiduous campaigns to influence the committee’s outcome with little success. From its conception, the committee’s proceedings have held behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny.
Legislators have attempted to exert their influence as well. Last month, Minnesota Representative John Kline made his case for cuts to Pell grants, which he described as “on a path to bankruptcy.” Kline then went on to back the Labor, Health and Human Services budget cutting bill passed by House Republicans.
That bill would decrease the Pell Grant eligibility period from 9 to 6 years. It would also eliminate eligibility for students who attend school part-time. The changes are projected to produce almost $3.6 billion in savings to the national budget.
In last year’s debt-ceiling budget agreement, the federal government promised $7 billion in additional appropriations for the program, an amount that according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid administrators still won’t make up for a $1.3 billion shortfall in 2012-13.
Democrats have long protected the program instituted under President Lyndon Johnson’s as part of his Great Society initiative, but their priority may now be focused on protecting costly entitlement programs that have come under increasing attack from Republicans.
Many have predicted that the negotiations will end in a deadlock, as most recent budget battles have. More than a few of the committee’s members are staunch advocates of their party’s most recalcitrant positions, making meaningful compromise unlikely. Any such deal would require substantial concessions on either side of the aisle.
Financial aid is available to USF students in other forms besides Pell grants, including school funded scholarships and grants from the state.
Even so, “student aid has already lost $30 billion paying down the deficit in prior Reconciliation bills and the Budget Control Act,” cited Ms. Turpin in her letter.
The fiscal solvency of the state is also in question, imperiling some of the state’s programs like Cal Grants.
If the super committee fails to find $1.2 trillion on cuts, automatic cuts of $600 billion to both defense and entitlement spending would kick in, possibly exempting the financial aid program.