Staff editorial: Riding a rising tuition tide

Tuition will, like the sun, always rise. This sentiment prevails on many campuses and GW is not immune. In fact, the price of tuition will increase 4.4 percent next year. While periodic hikes are expected, administrators should better explain the frequency, magnitude and purpose of GW’s tuition increases to the parents and students footing the bill.

Universities are expensive to operate; teaching does not generate income in the same way selling a product does. But when an institution with so many thousands of students raises its cost of attendance by even a fraction of a point, that increase translates into millions more dollars in the University’s coffers. Parents and students experiencing the sticker shock that accompany numbers like a $36,000-plus cost of attendance should be shown how GW acts as a responsible steward of that money.

An institution enveloped in frustrating bureaucracy – some say GW’s red tape rivals that of the federal government – the University appears to have plenty of room to tighten its belt. Perhaps conscientious efforts to keep costs low could translate into lower tuition prices for students. Besides, there is something unsettling about a University spending extravagantly while charging top-drawer prices for a second-tier education.

The bottom line, though, will always prevail. As long as GW has a captive income stream, tuition and fees will continue to rise. But administrators could improve the situation by showing parents and students GW can spend tuition dollars responsibly.

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