Six Reasons Brown Should Freeze Tuition

Parade for Accessible Education Partly to remind you about our Parade for Accessible Education tomorrow at Brown (right) and partly because my friend Mike Da Cruz is really articulate, here are six reasons why Brown Students for a Democratic Society is calling on the Brown Corporation to freeze tuition:

1) High tuition sticker prices, even when they are defrayed in actuality by aid discourage many lower-income people from applying to universities at all.

2) At a time when the asking price for a year Brown exceeds the US median household income by thousands of dollars, it seems unreasonable to continue to raise tuition only to increase aid, if fully half of Americans couldn’t afford to go to Brown even if their families live in their dorms and ate on meal plan without massive aid. Brown is in a position to stop asking for money the vast majority of people don’t have.

3) Having reached the point mentioned above, every time we increase we aid proportionally, all we can really do is use the money from the very top to pay for those we’ve now priced out of Brown. It’s pretty much a zero-sum game, so why bother, its pretty much just more paper work.

4) If Brown wants to institute a sort of progressive billing system, raising tuition and aid in tandem is a poor way to do, as well as an inefficient one. More effective would be a tiered system that charged a progressive larger (starting from zero) percentage of income as one went up tiers.

5) Brown needs to be encouraged to spend more wisely, and to use its other funding sources rather than constantly leaning more and more heavily on students to support larger and larger percentages of its operating budget while it engages in prestige projects, and massively increase administrative salaries (by nearly 1/3 in the two years I’ve been here).

6) As most people who have applied for aid before probably know, aid offices tend to assume that we can pay more than our families and our ability to work are really capable of. My family is currently expected to pay about 50% of our collective income (all four of us work) between my school and my sister’s. Students do better when the expected norm (tuition) is lower.

I expect to see you out there tomorrow.

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