Temple University has long been considered a college where students could get a quality education for a reasonable price.
It is a college whose students pay their own way, somehow juggling a full class load, a work schedule and whatever else life decides to throw at them.
Gov. Mark Schweiker seems intent on making this life more difficult, proposing cuts in state aid to Pennsylvania colleges. This would result in a ripple effect, ending at the student’s wallet.
President Adamany went before the state last month to not only argue against the aid cuts, but to ask for an increase in aid. Sounds courageous, doesn’t it?
Well, it was necessary to head off a possible 10 percent increase in tuition for next year. Temple’s in-state tuition this year is $7, 324. That would make for a $732 increase, which is very near the price of a three-credit class. So if the increase does indeed happen, then you will only be getting four classes for the price of five. Ouch.
Why can’t the state alleviate more of the burden? Thirty years ago, the state took care of 60 percent of Temple’s operating revenue. That number is only 36 percent today and looks to decrease further.
Some would argue that college is a choice; no one has to go to college, but, if they choose to attend, they should willing to pay for it. That is true, to a certain extent. College is a choice, but attendance is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. But when students start their post-collegiate lives thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in debt, then something is no longer working.
The state should be taking more of an active interest in the lives of those who could become some of its most important and influential citizens. Give these people something and who knows how much they will give back once they are in their chosen profession.
Now, no one is saying that college students are more important than anyone else; that would be embarrassingly ignorant. But considering the chance college students take with their future, one has to wonder why the state would want to make a difficult task harder.
Shouldn’t students be given every chance to succeed? There are no guarantees attached to a bachelor’s degree; graduates enter the real world hoping they have done enough to earn a job in their field, hoping the time spent in college has truly afforded them advantages over those without a college education.
Steep increases in tuition force students out of school or put them into deep debt. They then have to take any job out college just to pay back their loans instead of focusing on success in their chosen careers.
When the state hurts college students, it is really only hurting itself.