Tuition Increase Hurts Students

The price of a college education continues to mount to astronomical levels. Last week, the University announced that the price of tuition will rise to nearly $29,000 next year. This is an increase of 4.8 percent over last year. While this is the lowest rate of increase since 1969, it is still higher than the rate of inflation. And though college tuition should should be allowed to rise faster than inflation because it is a service-based industry, Harvard should still minimize tuition increases.

Undoubtedly, Harvard offers undergraduates academic resources unmatched by any other university. We are appreciative of these resources and we realize that tuition and fees only cover half of the cost of our education. But we are also very concerned about the steadily rising cost of attending the College. This trend may put a Harvard education out of the price range of most middle-class Americans in the near future.

A Harvard education is effectively an inelastic good. The bank accounts of those students who are accepted and choose to attend this school, and those of their parents, are therefore at the mercy of University administrators. (Not incidentally, it is the middle class students whose family and personal incomes fall just above the assistance line who are most burdened by rising tuition costs.) Given this assurance of payment, Harvard has an obligation to eliminate administrative fluff. The University bureaucracy is big and bloated, faulty investment of dollars which might otherwise have been allotted to student services.

Fortunately, the massive building renovation program, which includes major projects like the transformation of Memorial Hall, has been funded by private gifts. University officials claim that the rising costs of information technology and library materials and operations have contributed to the tuition increase. However, we feel that the University must continue to seek more effective cost-cutting measures by promoting increased efficiency and maintaining improvements in student services.

We also wish to express our support for the University's commitment to need-blind admissions. Other schools have begun to abandon completely need-blind admissions in the last few years. Harvard, which faces not only increasing costs but also a rising number of students seeking financial aid, continues to admit students regardless of financial need. Harvard also ensures that the financial needs of all admitted students are met. Currently, two-thirds of Harvard undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. However, if the cost of tuition continues to mount so rapidly, we wonder how Harvard can sustain this commitment. Thus, we urge the University to attempt to continue slowing the rate of tuition increases in the coming years.


Recommended Articles