For the 2016-17 academic year, Georgetown’s tuition was projected to rise between 4 and 7 percent. At its maximum, this potential rise in tuition would have cost students an additional $3,363 a year — a hefty price tag for an already expensive educational experience.
The fact that the rise in tuition was as low as it was — less than 4 percent — was due in large part to student outrage on the issue. After all, what right did the administration have to keep raising tuition? This kind of student engagement is exactly what we see as necessary to holding the university accountable on the cost of attendance — the biggest issue facing Georgetown at the moment.
In our administration, we plan to institute a number of reforms, including a Tuition and Affordability Policy Team, to analyze the spending of the university and work with organizations on campus to develop students’ spending priorities.
So much of the discussion of this issue, understandably blurred by frustration, fails to take into account the realities of Georgetown’s financial situation. Georgetown does not have the deep pockets of its peer institutions, but it regularly works to provide as many resources as possible to students.
Specifically, for a school like Georgetown with a startlingly small endowment, its dedication to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need should be applauded and understood as one of the primary allocations of the university’s budget. As two students actively involved with the Georgetown Scholarship Program, we would be amiss if we failed to appreciate this incredible gift.
These rising tuition costs do not specifically affect scholarship students like us or students who are particularly well off. These changes hit middle-income students the hardest, and these are the students who need be most engaged in future discussions of spending and affordability on campus.
Socio-economic diversity has become a buzzword meaning only low-income students, but true socio-economic diversity takes into account many different perspectives as equally important, including those of middle-income students. This is one of the reasons we are advocating for more frequent town halls on the wide array of issues that affect every student on this campus.
As a part of our platform, we are advocating for the creation of an Affordability and Access Residential Student Hub to continue many discussions on true socio-economic diversity on this campus. In the mold of Red House, focused on designing a new Georgetown, this hub will focus on issues related to socio-economic inclusivity and financial transparency for the university.
As members of the Advisory Board on Affordability and Access, we know that these discussions are often kept in administrative meetings rather than open forums, and that policy recommendations are lost in bureaucracy rather than implemented. By opening up these discussions, we plan to allow for proper transparency on the university’s finances so that the administration can be held accountable for the money that students are providing to receive an education.
Tuition affects everyone, and we want to ensure that more student voices are heard in these discussions. It is time for you to have a seat at the table.
Garet Williams is a junior in the College running for the Georgetown University Student Association presidency. Habon Ali, a junior in the School of Foreign Service, is his running mate.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.