To the relief of Florida college students, tuition and fees are not expected to rise during the following academic year.
Though USF students did not experience an increase in tuition last year, they faced substantial hikes in recent years.
Tuition rose by 91 percent and all fees for undergraduate in-state students increased by 188 percent just within the past eight years.
If these rates remained unsteady, it could deter people from
seeking a college degree. Some people are already uncertain about their futures and the sporadic nature of tuition and fee rates will only further this concern.
Students are obligated to face the rising cost of living throughout their college careers. Thus, halting escalating rates of tuition and fees minimizes the expenses students are responsible for and mitigates the unrealistic expectation of what they can afford.
Tuition is currently $211.19, along with $107.83 in fees, per credit hour. Though tuition rates were consistent last year, incoming freshmen should not expect tuition rates to increase as dramatically as they have in the past eight years while they navigate their college years.
Tuition remaining steady in the next year provides students with a sense of security in knowing an increase will not surprise them.
Additionally, it offers a better financial outlook for students, as federal aid funding transitioned from a striking 125 percent increase between the 2007-08 and 2010-11 years to a one percent decrease in the 2012-13 year. Paired with the uncertainty of the amount of federal funding one might receive, the dramatic tuition increases of previous years further inconveniences students with unprecedented costs.
Unlike tuition rates, on-campus housing fees increased by a weighted average of 3.1 percent and parking fees for students increased by 5 percent last year. In many cases, these fees are unavoidable.
With few exceptions, students first enrolling in the fall must live in a residence hall for both fall and spring terms and are automatically subjected to the increases. Similarly, students both on and off campus face the surge of parking fees, with a commuter student’s parking pass costing $57.
Avoiding fee increases in the coming year makes affording college and the cost of living more manageable for students. These ongoing expenses such as food, gas and off-campus housing will continue to rise. While paying for both these necessities and college expenses, steady rates of tuition and fees can mean fewer borrowed loans and improved financial security.
Though unchanging rates of tuition and fees imply a loss to the university’s revenue and state universities dealt with cuts for the past eight years, it is necessary as it becomes increasingly more difficult for students and graduates to afford the continuously rising rates of tuition and fees with the increasing cost of everyday expenses.
Though the mandate to keep tuition rates steady occurred during an election year, hopefully Gov. Rick Scott’s summon is not a strategy for re-election and will continue in the future for the benefit of USF students.