STORY BY ANNELISE TARNOWSKI
Once again, tuition has been raised.
We forge ahead, filing for more loans and picking up extra shifts at work.
Paying for school is hard and it is easy in these moments to feel like Drake is just trying to make it harder.
Our university just raised the cost of tuition for the average student by $1,775.
Considering the rising cost of higher education across the country, and therefore the rising fences to those who can’t afford that cost, it is worth asking the right people hard questions to find out how and where this money is being used.
I write today not to belittle those questions. As a tuition-paying student here I’m wondering them as well.
I instead ask that we step back for a moment and look at the bigger picture. A college education is an investment. It is an investment in your abilities, your work ethic and your future.
In terms of return on investment it’s likely the best money you will ever spend, especially if you are spending it at Drake University.
Students here graduate in four years and have jobs in their field within six months of graduation.
The numbers are collected and crunched every year and every year that job placement rate sits around 97 percent.
That’s not a cute number thrown at you by a tour guide. That’s a hard statistic telling you that the money you are spending right now is worth it.
I spend a lot of time talking to alumni. I’ve worked in the Office of Alumni Relations since I was a first-year and I am the president of the Student Alumni Association.
When I share stories with alumni about what goes on in the Drake world today I usually get the same response, “If I applied to Drake today, there is no way I’d get in.”
They say it with a smile because it’s a point of pride. Their degree is worth so much more today than it was on their graduation day because Drake is an institution with a vision.
It is a place that moves forward every year to ensure that it is keeping the promise put forth in our mission statement. It is a place where what is excellent today will become average tomorrow.
Yes, tuition rose 4.28 percent. But it didn’t rise 33.3 percent, which is approximately what would have to happen if we students were in this alone. Thankfully we’re not.
We have the support of all the hardworking, dollar-scrounging students who came before us. Those extra dollars that we will pay, as our tuition, keeps Drake running, but it’s not what allows it to be great.
New buildings, renovated labs, endowed chairs — all of these marks of excellence are a result of alumni gifts given as a donation to a cause, not student tuition given as payment for a service.
Today, the expensive tuition is scary, and hard, but it means that we, the future alumni, are making an investment in this place.
We’re hoping that when we come back to visit, we’ll be the ones marveling at how far Drake has come.
Some of us face graduation in a few short months, and I think that we can safely say that if it weren’t for Drake, and our alumni of the past, we wouldn’t be who we are today.