Tuition increase hits upperclassmen hard

Internships and financial strain make for “real world” experiences.


PaigeGrossAs I logged on to pay tuition with my parents earlier this month, an email I received in May popped into my mind.

“You have 60 earned credits and are now classified as an upper division student.  As a result, you will be charged the upper division tuition rate, which is higher.”

I remembered being angry when I initially read the email, but shrugged it off, as college students tend to do, when I realized it wouldn’t affect me for a few months.

But there it was, the higher figure, inflated by this year’s tuition increase and the extra charge for being an upperclassmen staring back at us on my laptop screen.

My mom put it best when she uttered, “that’s bulls—” at the computer screen.

At first I chalked it up to an inflated economy, but that didn’t seem to justify why we, the students who have stuck around for two years were feeling the financial hit the worst.

I thought about it again as I accepted an internship that would take up two whole days of my week, outside of the university and its resources I was now paying a higher price for.

The Bursar’s Office site explains that tuition is based on a few things: school or college within the university, student’s level, credit hours and class. Those who argue the more advanced classes warrant more experienced professors have a valid point, but in my experience, those professors are the ones that suggest getting off campus and into the real world as much as possible.

If we’re doing it right, our junior and senior years are made for internships, especially at a university that boasts about its outside opportunities. When three of my credits are being earned in Center City, on another company’s time and resources, I can’t justify the $800 increase that being an upperclassman costs me.

Maybe it is the timing – the raise in tuition for the whole university and the shift to upperclassman status at the same time to the tune of $17,388—that’s $1,792 more than the previous year for an in-state student in the School of Media and Communication.

President Theobald recently told The Temple News that he sees overwhelming debt as a bigger issue than slight increases of tuition, and I agree with him. But it’s hard to see a university so focused on programs for incoming students and underclassmen like the “Temple Option” and “Fly in 4” and not get to reap the benefits of participating in them.

It’s a hard year to make the transition to upperclassmen, partially because of the financial strain, and partially because the sting from reality smacking us in the face will not be fading anytime soon.

My only suggestion that makes the increase seem bearable, is to take advantage of each and every opportunity the university does offer. I’ll make it worth it as I get to know my professors at their office hours and meet with advisors and eat lots of pizza at Free Food Fun Fridays.

I will embrace everything I do get by being a Temple student in the two years I have left and be grateful before the “real world” stomps it out of me.

Paige Gross can be reached at or on Twitter @By_paigegross.

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