A UNIVERSITY IS a business. True, it’s an important institution of higher learning, but like any other enterprise it has to earn some dough. It’s time to face it, folks: Our tuition is not going down.
One reason is our fragile and unstable economy. With stock markets crashing all over the world, it’s no wonder the businesses remaining intact want to harvest the greens. Add ever-rising costs to the list and suddenly hikes in tuition don’t seem so unreasonable.
I will never support the Education is a Right, formerly known as the Drop Fees, campaign because it has its head in the clouds. It seems to want more for less, but we should be getting more for more. Expecting tuition fees to suddenly drop from “sky-high” to “affordable” is unrealistic, partially because there’s no concrete definition for “affordable”.
What we should be rallying for is getting more out of our money. That’s why I’m extremely fond of Vision 2020, an action plan recently released by the U of O. It adds value to our education, presenting students with opportunities, placements, and environments to enhance the degree they’re getting.
Reducing tuition fees would mean reinforcing the “just another high-school degree” stereotype about undergraduate programs. Investing in the institution’s functions and, subsequently, reputation, on the other hand, steers clear of the misconception.
Smaller class sizes, real-life work, and a high quality of teaching are what students should be demanding. Those investments in the university’s image are what will get a future employer to hire you over someone who has the same degree from a less respected institution.
Trust me, I get it. I’m not rich and paying for university sucks. But if you’re tight on finances, there are options. You can apply for scholarships, pull up your grades, work summer jobs, and take out student loans. University is something you can plan for, which often means you can financially prepare yourself ahead of time.
If you really can’t find a way to help yourself, you’ll end up with a hefty debt at the end of the four years. Though it won’t be as much as our southern neighbours have to deal with, it’s still money owed.
The thing is, if you have a good, high-quality, valuable education, you will get a job, and paycheque, to match. Paying off thousands of dollars owed will be on the tough side, but it won’t stop you from living a comfortable life—getting a bad education might.
Call me crazy, but I’d rather pay good money for something valuable than save some cash and get something mediocre. At least the former comes with a better guarantee.