Continued tuition hikes are unjustifed

By By By Jonathan Deesing

By By Jonathan Deesing

It seems as if college is quickly becoming the safest place during these tough economic times. You can’t get fired or laid off from college, and when you leave, you’re almost guaranteed to make more money and have less trouble finding a job.

On Oct. 5, the Utah System of Higher Education reported an across-the-board increase in fall enrollment in public colleges and universities. This is the largest increase in 40 years. Almost all schools reported an increase of more than 5 percent, and others’ enrollment increased quite a bit more, as is the case with enrollment at Dixie State College, which jumped 22.8 percent from last year.

One of the most dramatic changes, however, is that for the first time, Salt Lake Community College has surpassed the U in enrollment. SLCC now boasts 33,774 students8212;2,367 more than the U. This likely has to do with lower costs and admission standards, which appeal to a much wider group of people.

Although many students clearly realize that college is important in a recession, the lawmakers on Capitol Hill seem confused about the concept. Their repeated round of budget cuts included a massive 17-percent cut in the most recent legislative session.

Many have likely already felt the effects of these cuts since fewer classes are available. I signed up for classes last spring and when I rechecked my schedule a few weeks before this semester, only two of my classes were still being taught. With fewer classes offered, class sizes have also grown, putting more stress on teachers.

Amusingly enough, this is all after last year’s controversial 9.5 percent increase in tuition.

So we’re paying more for less.

But times are tough, right? For students and those who have recently enrolled, the answer is a resounding “yes.” This is why the Utah State Legislature cannot justify continued cuts. U students are already under enough strain with tuition hikes and limited classes. Furthermore, many of us are doing this because we would not be able to find a viable career without more education.

We’re not the only ones. The U faced only a 3.9 percent student increase which, albeit significant, is nowhere near as stressful as Dixie’s. We gained 1,179 more students, whereas Dixie gained 1,468, nearly a quarter of its student body. Because funding in Utah does not increase with enrollment at the collegiate level, Dixie will now have to somehow find a way to accommodate these students with a 17 percent smaller budget8212;likely with tuition hikes.

Our universities are filling with students who want to better themselves and broaden their professional opportunities. Unfortunately, the Legislature seems to have no qualms about punishing such individuals.

We are in school because we have no money, and we have no money because we are in school. The last thing we need is for our schools to have no money either.

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