Staff Editorial: More transparency for tuition costs

The Student Association is continuing its crusade against fees.

Student Association President John Richardson and Executive Vice President Ted Costigan announced Monday that printing costs in Gelman Library and Eckles Library will be lowered by two cents, an accomplishment for the executives who spent eight months lobbying for change.

And to take that fight further, the duo plans to leapfrog their cause to the University’s highest governing board. The executives will present their newly finalized fee commission report at the Board of Trustees meeting next week to advocate for reducing the burden of fees and making tuition costs more transparent.

One of the most important aspects of this debate is the ability for students and families to see a list of all the individual costs on their tuition bills.

By allowing all charges to be itemized on tuition bills and providing a detailed account of the various costs, the University will provide the community with a greater understanding of the nature of the cost of attendance. And a more transparent process will be mutually beneficial for students, families and the University as a whole.

Students, being consumers of the University, deserve to be able to clearly see what their tuition money is used for and how it is spent. Itemizing tuition costs will provide students and parents greater oversight of the charges they receive from the University.

Listing the different charges will also allow students to see if there are any mistakes in their bills. There is always the possibility that a student is charged twice for a certain service, or charged for a service they did not receive.

But taking this step also allows the University to have an honest conversation with the entire community. If students and families are made explicitly aware of the charges levied against them, then the disenchantment felt by students and families about hidden costs may decrease. Since these types of expenses are often elusive and hard to detect, they become a source of ire which can damage the University’s image.

While listing the different costs on tuition bills does create the potential for many to feel as though they are being nickel-and-dimed, with an itemized tuition students would be able to clearly evaluate the costs in their tuition.

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