Ruminating on rising rates

By Ethan nichols, staff writer

Xavier loves hyping up how much they support students. You hear it when you tour campus, you hear it during Manresa, you hear it during GOA. But what does “support” mean? 

Xavier does an excellent job of providing for students in terms of advising, career coaching, tutoring services, academics and in many other areas. But in arguably the most important area, we fall short –– affordability.

College affordability has rapidly become a crisis in the U.S. In the 1980s, the average tuition at a four-year private institution was $9,882. In 2022, that number is now $26,740. 

At a time when we are coming out of a global pandemic and prices are soaring while wages remain stagnant, Xavier made the decision to increase our tuition 6%, or $2,540 a year. 

For many Americans, a college education is becoming impossible. Rising costs make it unrealistic to expect the average family to be able to afford to send their children to school without taking out massive amounts of debt. 

As a student, I value the resources our university provides us with, from academic resources –– like the writing center, the math lab, tutoring services and disability services –– to wellness resources –– like counseling in the Health United Building or campus involvement and engagement. But none of that matters if, at the end of the day, we are struggling to afford Xavier’s rising costs.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again –– Xavier’s administration needs to step up and decide whether they care more about athletics and hiring coaches or if they care about the needs of the majority of it’s students. Now is not the time to be raising tuition. It’s time to lower it. 

Many of us, myself included, rely heavily on scholarships to be able to afford college. As a Community Engaged Fellow, I was fortunate enough to receive a four-year, tuition-based scholarship that allows me to continue my commitment to service in community as a requirement of my scholarship. 

I’m incredibly grateful for the Fellowship family I’ve built and the incredible opportunities I’ve been given to continue service in college; the Fellowship is key to my Xavier experience. I wish Xavier would expand opportunities like this, and others, to allow more students to experience life at Xavier without the financial burden. 

Without the Fellowship and other scholarships, I wouldn’t be here. And yet, at this time, Xavier is not expanding many of these scholarships or opportunities to keep up with rising tuition costs. 

If the administration is going to increase tuition, the least they can do is increase scholarships and financial aid to match it. Students like myself rely on scholarships and programs like the fellowship to allow us to be here.

Now is the time for Xavier to prove its commitment to students. If Cura Personalis is truly integral to the Xavier identity, then the university should closely consider if its rising costs and stagnant scholarships are in line with our Jesuit values. “Caring for the wholeness of each person” includes ensuring that students are able to attend Xavier without placing undue financial burden on students and their families. 

Xavier should demonstrate its commitment to students by beginning the process to raise scholarship award packages to keep on par with rising tuition costs.