In life, the saying goes, the only things that are certain are death and taxes. And yearly tuition increases at colleges and universities. With that in mind, several Student Association leaders are planning to hold an anti-tuition rally Monday with the theme “$21,625 is too much.”
While it is always refreshing to see activism on campus, protesting this non-issue seems pointless. A rally against what the administration says is a minuscule tuition hike will be as effective as protesting the weather. In other words, not all that much can be done. Its only accomplishment is to weaken the legitimacy and effectiveness of protests against other issues. And protesting an increase that won’t be announced until Wednesday seems only to prove that students will fight decisions that they have no information about.
One of the arguments against the tuition increase – billed by the University as the lowest increase in 11 years – is that it already costs too much to attend GW, so any increase is too much. Some students apparently think inflation and cost of living adjustments should not be considered when the University decides on tuition costs. That is as reasonable as expecting Mother Nature to supply more sunny days because people are threatening to protest if it rains.
Attending GW does cost a tremendous amount of money. Two years ago, tuition was increased by almost seven percent and an uproar ensued. But look at what that money was spent on – improvements to Gelman Library, technology upgrades throughout campus, increases in financial aid, etc. Students and their families pay more than $100,000 for an education here because they view it as an investment – in the long run, GW tuition will be paid for by better career opportunities. While the hike may have been too high, students have benefited.
Protesting this year’s tuition increase is like the story of the boy who cried wolf. If continued low tuition increases are protested, will anyone pay attention when a high increase is ordered? It is reasonable to demand that the tuition increase be as low as possible and to know what the money is going toward. But demanding no increase at all is foolish and trivial.