Benjamin Krimmel: A college should not feel like a business

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Benjamin Krimmel

During my senior year of high school, I visited GW for an Admitted Student Day. But I couldn’t get too excited.

I had yet to hear about my financial aid package, and without significant help, I knew I would have to go somewhere else.

I was fortunate. It worked out for me.

But many others are not as lucky. This semester, Tori Guy, a former student, transferred after her father lost his job and GW denied her further aid. She said she appreciated the help she received from the University and understood that it could not lend her more support – after all, she recognized “a college is a business.”

It’s ironic that a student can feel as if the University, an institution that prides itself on helping to shape and educate young people, operates more like a financial institution. In addition to offering generous financial aid packages – about 64 percent of students receive some sort of aid – the University can do more to demonstrate that it prioritizes students over profit.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone say GW feels like a business. Of course, the school must remain financially stable somehow, but students should never feel like it is trying to nickel and dime them.

Last week, The Hatchet published a blog about MBA students who are disputing $1,000 increases to their tuition bills. These types of stories make it seem like the University is apathetic toward students’ needs.

Students should be informed of tuition hikes – no matter how big or small – well in advance. For many, an extra $1,000 charge could mean having to find another job or apply for further loans to help foot the bill.

GW raised tuition by 3.7 percent this year after last year’s 2.9-percent increase. If tuition increases are necessary to help fund new programs, the University should take an extra step to justify them to students.

Benjamin Krimmel, a junior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

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