Editorial: Stop the tuition madness


Macalesterƒ?TMs projected leap in tuition for the 2006-2007 school year is a devastating blow to students at a time when a liberal arts education is becoming increasingly unaffordable.Will Macalester, and the rest of the liberal arts schools price themselves out of the market for students with limited means? The numbers confirm a staggering trend. The price tag for a Macalester education went up 6.9 percent this year to $39,000. The two previous years also saw 6.9 percent increases in the overall cost.

At a continued 6.9 percent increase for the next ten years, the total rises to $76,000 in 2006 dollars. Even more conservative five percent increases for the next ten years would see a year at Macalester costing more than $60,000. Then multiply that by four years.

This sweeping rise will significantly outpace consumer and wage inflation. And the cost of a liberal arts education, already too expensive for many, would be affordable for only a select few, especially with the recent change to need-aware admissions.

It is disturbing that the college spent an entire year fighting to reduce the cost of financial aid, but failed to allocate any of those anticipated savings to a reduction in persistent tuition increases.

The most frightening thing about this issue is that there is no plan to address the situation. Administrators admit there is a problem, and they are studying it, yet they have no solutions.

The Administration is making a hasty decision to prioritize the need for revenue now rather than addressing the future implications of rising costs. This is a nearsighted way of addressing a problem that will haunt many in the immediate future.

Colleges everywhere, Macalester included, urgently need to take what may be a collective conversation about how to seriously control costs, toward a series of collective actions. The alternative is not one we can afford to face.

The opinions expressed above are those of The Mac Weekly, as determined by a board comprised of the Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editors and Opinion Editors. The perspectives are not representative of Macalester College.