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Letters to the Editor

SG supportive of tuition increase’s application

Re: “Crist agrees to tuition increase” by Joshua Neiderer, 6/28/07.

During the months of debate over the fate of differential tuition, I often heard the words “improving” and “quality,” two words which I usually do not hear spoken in the same sentence as “tuition.” For once, legislators and state leaders were discussing improving the actual education that students receive at Florida universities, including USF.

I am proud of the role that President Judy Genshaft and Vice Provost Ralph Wilcox played in working with Student Government to assure us that all differential tuition revenues would go to directly improving undergraduate education and instruction. I have been told by President Genshaft that more advisers will be hired, more challenging professors will be brought to USF and that many more courses – especially those that constantly have waiting lists – will be offered for USF students.

Many students may be wondering why any student would want to pay more for his or her education. I surely don’t want to pay more. First and foremost, I would like to see the Florida Legislature increase funding for USF. SG is dedicated this year to lobbying Tallahassee to contribute more of the state’s money to assist with enrollment growth funding, need-based financial aid and many other student-oriented programs.

It is important to note that tuition accounts for about 20 percent of a student’s expenses in Florida universities. The other costs – room and board, gas, food, textbooks, etc. – account for the other 80 percent of a student’s budget. Yet think of how little attention is given by both the press and politicians to this fact. On-campus housing at USF is going up 7 percent in 2007. For a student living in Holly Apartments, that is $38 extra a month (a nine-month total of $342). Yet residents paying this new rent will see the only direct benefit going toward a re-painting of the apartment walls. Tuition is one of the few costs to a student that directly affects the education they shall receive. And if the tuition increase is completely earmarked toward hiring new academic advisors and professors, it’s hard to complain about while being silent on the other 80 percent of costs to students.

SG is fully committed this year to ensuring that with any new tuition increases, the benefits should go directly to those who pay for them.

Barclay Harless is the student body president and a senior majoring in history and political science.