Tuition Increase Not Welcomed with Open Arms by Students

By GILLIAN MCMURRAY

An email by John Cabot University (JCU) President Franco Pavoncello was sent on September 9, 2014 to all currently enrolled students.

The email detailed the university’s growth during the past decade and informed students of the tuition increase that will go into effect during the Fall 2015 semester. The tuition and fees will jump from €7,900 ($10,950) to €8,500 ($11,950) per semester, but campus room and board fees will remain unchanged.

The student response to the increase is varied, and a number of students said they were misinformed or unaware of the changes in tuition.

“I think the tuition is too high,” said Marta Canigiulia, a 22-year-old Italian student.

Another Italian student, 20-year-old Marialuigia Ruffo, wondered where the extra money would go and said, “I know American universities usually cost more than JCU, but it is also true that they have bigger structures and way more outdoor areas. JCU could cost less.”

But JCU Dean Mary Merva explained that increasing tuition is how the university raises the majority of its money. “The university has changed and grown so much, become much more complex, offering more services for the students, so, at a certain point, to try to allow more flexibility for the university to grow, you need to stabilize the finances,” she said.

Samantha Abear, a 20-year-old American student who works as a student assistant in the Financial Aid Office said, “I do not feel incredibly negative toward the raise, it is in the interest of making the school more prestigious. It’s ridiculous what American universities charge, but I understand schools work like businesses now and have to remain competitive.”

Another student assistant in the Financial Aid Office 20-year-old Ahmad Kazi, had a similar response and understands that the money would go towards renovating the school, as well as creating additional features for the students and staff.” Kazi initially believed, however, that the tuition would increase only $1,000 per year, and said that he might have to consider external scholarships in order to afford the fees.

No matter what beliefs students have about the affordability of the university,  according to President Pavoncello’s email the university’s prices have “barely kept pace with inflation” and that “student discounts and scholarship have also grown to represent 30% of our entire academic revenues.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition for a 4-year private American university is $33,716 (€26,619) per year, for the 2011-12 school year. Compared to that, JCU’s yearly tuition, including room and board, will be just under that average, at about $33,500 (€26,448), beginning Fall 2015.

Challis Popkey, a 22-year-old American student said it’s no secret that the cost of attending an American university is way too high, and it’s difficult to  pay more each semester, but JCU offers a lot to its students and does so at a reasonably low cost compared to competing universities. “It has done it well enough to make it affordable and attractive to students from all over the world. Personally I am very happy with the quality of JCU,” she said.

As Dean Merva said, “Students should feel like they are really building something and contributing to the growth of their university; 10-20 years from now they’ll look back and say ‘look what we’ve done’.”

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