Story by Kathryn Kriss
On Feb., 5, Drake University students and parents received an email informing them of a tuition increase for the 2013-2014 school year. The email, including a link to the formal letter announcing the change, stated that the increase was a modest one, made with the intentions of keeping Drake as affordable as possible and below the national average.
Many students had varied reactions to the tuition announcement. All had heard about it, and most had opinions, but few were very informed about exactly how much tuition would increase and where it would go.
“I wish that the university publicly provided more information about it to students,” sophomore Jaclyn Klein said. “The link on blueView wasn’t very descriptive.”
First-year Amber Burns also heard about it through Facebook. She hadn’t gotten the chance to read the email before it started circulating online. She thinks that it’s easier to write about issues like this than to have conversations about them, especially when social media is so instantaneous. However, Facebook usually gives more opinions than fact, so she, like many other students, is aware that the tuition increase is going on but not the finer details.
The general consensus of the students seems to be that the new financial plan is annoying, but not a surprise.
“I’m not happy about it, but at the same time I was halfway expecting it,” sophomore Andrew Ruplin said. “I appreciate what I think it’s going towards. Something like 90 percent of students here receive some form of financial aid. Yes, it’s more money I have to borrow, but in a long term way I think it benefits us.”
Ruplin, a pharmacy major, enjoys studying in the new Cline atrium and realizes that it was probably tuition increases from the last few years that made it possible.
Phoebe Phillipson, a first-year, is also upset about it, but understands why. She thinks that the school is “doing it to give us the best education possible, and the best environment for learning.”
Luke Braland, a senior, is familiar with the yearly tuition hikes. He realizes that while Drake receives lots of alumni and donor pledges, the school needs other places to find the funds. He thinks the increases are necessary to meet the needs of the university.
Junior Erin McHenry also sees the bottom line grow every year, but agrees that it happens at almost every other school.
“The main issue I see is that the price tag is higher but aid doesn’t change,” said McHenry. “Drake wants to be diverse and inclusive, but if they don’t make a conscious effort to give more aid, it will become an elitist school.”
McHenry is all for changes that benefit the student body, but as a magazines major, it’s difficult for her to see where the money is going. If it were up to her she would prefer more money to be put back into scholarships and financial aid. Drake is already an academically solid school, so she would like to see it become more affordable.
P2 student Hannah Ridgewell cites how pharmacy school students pay more than the usual undergraduate tuition. P4 students pay an additional several thousand (specific amount), close to graduate school prices. Despite the tuition increase, scholarships are capped. Six-year pharmacy students’ aid only applies for the first four years. Ridgewell agrees that money put back into the school through scholarships would be well spent.
Some students don’t completely understand the reasoning behind the tuition increase. Junior Samantha Baker finds it annoying.
“It seems like they think the higher the tuition, the more prestigious we are,” Baker said.
Regardless of your opinion towards the change, it pays to be informed. The formal explanation letter can be easily accessed at www.drake.edu/students/tuition. While it does not state where exactly the money will be going, it gives several facts and figures showing how Drake is doing its best to keep costs down while staying academically competitive with comparable schools.