Proposed Tuition Increase Stirs Up Student Opposition On Utah Campus
In an email sent to students Nov. 18, administrators from the John M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University announced a proposal to increase the school’s differential tuition. The proposal would increase the business school’s tuition by $20 per credit hour for undergraduates. The move has sparked a debate on the USU campus over the rising cost of going to college.
Dave Patel, the associate dean of Student and External Affairs at the Huntsman School, said the school has been open about what the funds from the tuition increase will be used for. He also said the college has listened to student concerns about transparency and has already taken measures to address them.
“The Board of Regents approved the use of differential tuition for four things: faculty, staff, program support and administration and infrastructure. Some of the feedback we’ve gotten from our students is instead of seeing the percentage of allocation differential each year which we’ve provided, they’d like to see actual dollars. We’ve got that feedback and are collecting data right now. We’ll have our budget officer make that available and as soon as I have it we’ll get it up on the website for all to see,” he said.
Nadir Takri, a student at the Huntsman School, said that student involvement in evaluating the proposed increase has been minimal and that transparency in the use of the money remains an issue.
“I’m against the differential tuition raise. The reasons they want it are good. It’s just they’re asking for a lot and we have no idea where it’s going. The extent of the [student] participation up until last Tuesday has been with the Business Council of the Huntsman School of Business and with the Business Senator who represents the school of business to the student association. That was pretty much the extent of it,” Takri said.
Patel said despite the town hall meeting at which students can voice concerns about the increase being scheduled for the week before finals, the college values its students’ participation in discussing the tuition increase and he is willing to schedule as many town hall meetings as it takes to facilitate student involvement.
“If there is significant interest on the part of students, we are happy to hold additional town hall meetings," Patel said. "I stated as much at the presentation to the Business Council. I told them I would hold a town hall meeting every single day until the end of the year if that’s what it takes. We want to have all of the information available to all of our students."
Takri said that the school could go ahead and raise tuition without the backing or involvement of its students.
“There will be two town hall meetings next week and that’s pretty much it. It will then go to the board of trustees and the board of regents and it will be gone. If anything, the students really don’t have a say. They could pass it without our support.”
The town hall meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 4.