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Keep fees at ease

Tuition increase would hinder opportunities

By The Advocate editorial board
On May 1, 2014

  • After 38 years at the college, David “Dajarah” Houston, current humanities chairperson, will retire to focus more time on writing books. He plans to come back and teach philosophy classes part time. Cody Casares / The Advocate

The only conversation that needs to be had about tuition costs for community college is how to lower them.
California's community colleges have long been seen as the affordable option to get one's general education requirements done before transferring.
It certainly is cheaper than tuition at a CSU or a UC. But to think it is affordable simply because how blatantly other institutions of higher education rip off their students with outrageous tuition prices is ridiculous.
No student working a full-time minimum wage job could afford to go to a community college without financial aid. No student working two full-time minimum wage jobs could.
Luckily financial aid does exist, but doesn't the fact that so many students need to utilize financial aid to pay for the "affordable" college option mean that college, in general, is unaffordable?
Tuition for community colleges has remained at $46 per unit for the last couple of years, which flies in the face of the last decade of constant tuition hikes. As early as 2003, tuition fees were just $18 per unit. Over the last few years, the hikes in tuition have been severe, while the wages students are earning on their jobs have not changed in the slightest.
A way has to be found to bring tuition costs, for all students, drastically lower. While financial aid does exist, and is a huge boon to students who qualify, students should be able to pay for their own education.
The state seems to be assuming that all students come from wealthy, loving families, which is simply far from true.
Financial aid is an admirable step toward making college accessible to those without means, but if the trend in increasing the costs to students continues, it is likely that the state will be unable to support those who need assistance.
California's constant budget crises are evidence of how large a burden educational assistance can be on the state.
So the state must look to where it can save money it allocates to higher education. Professors are essential, though one need only look at a number of colleges to see that college administration may be a large waste of funding.
Administrative salaries are also extremely high. According to a database compiled by the San Jose Mercury News in 2010, no college president was earning less than $200,000 a year, with many earning well over $250,000.
There is no doubt college administrators work hard. But given how much a college education can cost, maybe they should not be living such markedly different lives than the constituents they serve. 


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