Trustees to discuss SGA pres. tuition proposal

by Beacon Staff • March 18, 2009

Two weeks after saying the Board of Trustees would not consider Student Government Association President Scott Fisher's request to guarantee a set price to incoming students during their discussion on tuition for the 2009-2010 school year, Vice President of Public Affairs David Rosen said the trustees would in fact consider Fisher's written proposal at their meeting on March 19.

"I misspoke, I shouldn't have said that," Rosen said in a telephone interview. "I was wrong when I said [the board] wouldn't take it into consideration. I'm sure they'll respond to it directly."

In his proposal, Fisher asked the board to not increase the cost of tuition this year because many students are facing financial struggles. He also asked them to implement a four-year tuition guarantee, in which the administration would tell prospective students exactly how much tuition would rise during their time at Emerson.

"I've had countless conversations with students who have described to me their financial situation and how difficult continuing as part of the Emerson community will be next year if things remain the same," he wrote. "These are students who have dedicated not only their money, but more importantly their passion to this community."

Rosen said the board will be focusing on several other factors in addition to Fisher's proposal that include the state of the economy, what other colleges are doing with tuition, the financial needs of the college, and affordability for its students.

President Jacqueline Liebergott announced in December that $500,000 will be transferred from this year's budget to the financial aid pool. Financial aid will continue to be discussed at the board meeting, Rosen said.

Emerson increased tuition by 5.5 percent last year, bringing the amount up to $28,352.

Sophomore Coco Knudson said she doesn't think the board should increase tuition this year.

"Especially because they just decided this and the sudden notice would be unfair," the marketing communication major said. "If it is going to increase, they should tell students so they can be aware. It will give them time to prepare and plan other things."

In the past couple of weeks, Tufts University and Boston College announced the smallest tuition increases for their schools in decades. Tufts will be raising its tuition only 3.5 percent this year, the smallest amount in 45 years, according to an article in iThe Boston Globe/i. BC will raise its tuition by 3 percent, the lowest in three decades.

Among the topics being discussed by the board this week, which include a presentation from the architecture firm designing the new Los Angeles facilities, tenure for professors Roger House and Pierre Desir will not be one of them, Rosen said.

"I know it's frustrating for everybody," he said. "But the college continues to believe the tenure review process related to both individuals was in accordance with the handbook that was worked out with the faculty assembly and the administration."