Letter of tuition suggestions from the SGA

by Beacon Staff • March 15, 2012

Dear Emerson College Board of Trustees, 

Thank you for your continued dedication to Emerson College. This year, as the Emerson College Student Government Association discussed what to recommend to you in regard to the yearly tuition increase, it felt that the best way to help you decide on a tuition increase would be to provide insight into the undergraduate student body’s experience with college affordability rather than request a numeric percentage like in previous years. 

We fully recognize and respect that tuition increases are a necessary method of sustaining the College’s yearly operations. Bearing that in mind, what follow are the conclusions we came to regarding the student body’s experience with yearly tuitions. Please consider our 10 findings and suggestions. 

 

1) Students and their respective households struggle to be able to afford attending Emerson College each year as a result of the yearly tuition increase. Their incomes do not increase proportionately to the tuition increase each year, and thus, students must constantly seek out new means to continue their study at the College. 

2) The window of time between notification of the new tuition and the date by which payments must be made is short enough to place students under great stress, since securing financial aid can take a significant amount of time. 

3) Students have had to discontinue their Emerson careers as a result of being unable to afford attending the College due to increases. 

4) The Emerson SGA also noted that yearly increases can damage the College’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, since it narrows accessibility for students of socioeconomic diversity. 

5) We would like to hear the Board’s thoughts on the possibility of adopting a new tuition policy: applying the tuition increase to the incoming class of Emersonians, and freezing that price so that the class would pay the same tuition price for their full Emerson careers. Over 100 colleges and universities have adopted similar policies. We would appreciate your input as to what benefits and challenges might consequently arise from the change, and if you find it viable. 

6) In the proposed tuition freeze we see the benefit of students being able to plan their finances so they may attend the College for their full Emerson career. We were concerned that this however would result in a particularly steep increase for each incoming class to make up for the difference in revenue. 

7) We understand that prices must rise to meet the College’s increasing needs, yet also feel that Emerson’s expenses are heightening at a rate which students cannot accommodate comfortably. The student body has expressed excitement for Emerson’s ambitious expansion—which manifests itself in the construction and opening of new buildings and spaces acquired by the College—but also discomfort at the notion that their tuition dollars are going into expensive projects which they will not see come to fruition, or have the opportunity to enjoy, before graduating. 

8) Thus the Emerson SGA would like to politely request that the Board try to reduce the College’s expenses and in doing so keep the tuition increase as low as possible by cutting costs, reevaluating processes to identify inefficiencies where extra money may be found, and delaying or staggering costly projects to soften the financial burden on students as much as possible. 

9) The Emerson SGA hesitated to offer a suggestion of a specific numeric percentage increase because it felt that it didn’t have adequate information regarding what Emerson’s plans are for the  

future and the direction in which the College is going. Without an idea as to what projects the College wishes to pursue, and in what areas our costs are increasing, we were unable to calculate a reasonable number. 

10) It is for this reason that the Emerson SGA would welcome a more open line of communication between itself and the Board of Trustees to better offer a student perspective, and also gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Board’s decision-making process which determines the direction of the College. The Emerson SGA feels that it would be better equipped to make recommendations if it were offered audited reports regarding the finances of upcoming projects as well as mission statements detailing Emerson’s plan for the future so that it may offer input. 

We would like to express our immense gratitude for your hard work and commitment to the betterment of the College. Please let us know if there are questions we can answer for you or messages you would like to communicate to the rest of the student body. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely, 

The Emerson College Student Government Association