Op-Ed: #HaltTheHike: A Call for transparency, accountability and accessibility in our community

 An email was sent to the undergraduate student body on April 12 by Dean of Arts and Sciences James Glaser and Dean of Engineering Jianmin Qu with the subject line “2016-2017 Tuition Update,” notifying students for the first time in recent history of a 3.6 percent increase in tuition, room, board and fees, bringing tuition costs to $65,996.

This was the smallest increase in tuition over the past four years and the first time in recent history that students have been notified of a tuition increase. These exorbitant fees and recurring increases continue to burden students and families who are unable to keep up with them.

“This summer I wasn’t sure if I would be able to come back to Tufts; my bill was thousands higher because of hidden fees. Students shouldn’t have to wait to see if they can afford to return each year. We need full access to understanding where our money is going and what we’re even being charged for,” sophomore Elise Sommers said.

Just five years ago, as the Class of 2011 matriculated, the cost of attendance at Tufts University was $52,866. We are currently the eighth most expensive private college in the United States, according to U.S. News.

“Coming from a working-class background, I’m always concerned about whether or not I can come back for the academic year. The rising tuition fees creates an unwarranted burden for not only me but my family as well — people who are not actively kept in the loop,” sophomore Wilson Wong said.

If Tufts continues the trend of increasing tuition by 3.6 percent each year, the projected tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year will be over $73,300. This projection is modest considering that, according to the email, this year’s 3.6 percent increase “is the lowest in the past four years.”

Last year, student leaders working with the Tufts First-Generation College Student Council, Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts (BLAST) Scholars and QuestBridge Scholars compiled a list of demands related to this tuition hike. After a disappointing response from University President Anthony Monaco and Deans Glaser and Qu, we decided to re-deliver our demands to Ballou with 70 other concerned students.

We are releasing a new set of demands because our families are still not able to afford this university, we are still not receiving the support we need from this university and this school still remains out of reach for far too many qualified students.

“From being told that I should be ‘grateful for the amount of financial aid I did receive’ when discussing how I am struggling to gather funds for next semester’s tuition to constantly worrying about how my attendance at this university will influence my future financially, I am done with Tufts not being held accountable and not giving students the support and transparency that we deserve,” sophomore Amira Subaey said.

We are demanding transparency, accountability and accessibility from this university that claims to support us. Until these are been met, we demand a halt on tuition increases for the 2017-2018 academic year.

This movement is about more than one individual — it is about making sure that Tufts, which claims to be accessible to all qualified applicants and to fully support those who are unable to afford this university, actively follows through with these promises.

Show your support for this movement by signing our petition and reading our full list of demands, both of which are up on the Tufts Student Action Facebook page.

If you’re interested in being involved, sign up for our e-list or email us at tuftsstudentaction@gmail.com.

Editor’s note: If you would like to send your response or make an op-ed contribution to the Opinion section, please email us at tuftsdailyoped@gmail.com. The Opinion section looks forward to hearing from you.


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