Staff Editorial: Helping GW bring home the bacon

The club just got bigger.

For the past year, GW students have emptied their pockets, wallets and bank accounts to cover the over $50,000 price tag that is attached to life in Foggy Bottom. With market basket schools hiking up their prices, we are not alone in our tuition woes. But this is not a club we ever wanted to join, much less found – and the way out may be through alumni support.

Alumni donations are an integral part of university operations. It’s recently become clear how small endowments have hindered progress in higher education. Announcements from schools such as New York University, Carnegie Mellon and Boston University revealed that these institutions are also heavily reliant upon tuition dollars to cover basic operating costs from year to year. For the first time, the cost of attendance at NYU and Carnegie Mellon has breached $50,000 – and BU is just under that stigmatized figure.

Generally, these schools lack the large endowments that afford other universities financial security. Tuition dollars fund 60 percent of NYU’s operating budget and 56 percent of GW’s. With such reliance, it becomes exponentially more difficult for such institutions to look beyond day-to-day operations to larger projects that will further student life and the school’s image. Yet market pressure demands that they keep up. So they do – by raising tuition.

For the graduates who have felt nickel and dimed for the last four years and don’t believe they owe GW another cent, we’d like you to reconsider. A low endowment like ours leads to higher tuition, which inevitably causes resentment. The natural reaction is to turn your back on GW and close your wallets. But this only furthers the problem by continuing to limit the endowment and causing similar issues for future Colonials.

It’s a vicious cycle – and not one that will be broken by one donation. But any dollar that is spared and saved for the University will be a dollar that goes toward a better tomorrow.

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