Consider more tuition locks

Many graduate and professional students face tuition costs that are both high and variable.

The University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine is set for a tuition freeze of its current rates through the 2014-15 academic year. On top of that, seniors in the college will see an 8 percent tuition reduction.

Still, high tuition rates can be crippling for some veterinary medicine students, particularly those who pay nonresident tuition rates, according to a Minnesota Daily report last week.

Take the case of Ashley Hall, an out-of-state veterinary medicine student. The Daily reported that she’s expecting $300,000 of debt when she finishes her program, and she said her program’s freeze still isn’t enough.

Her issues with high tuition aren’t unique, however, and graduate students are set to do something about their burdensome attendance costs. Andrew McNally, Council of Graduate Students president, said he and other graduate students are forming a group this year aimed at raising awareness for the high costs that graduate students face and the important work they do at the University.

One solution to the massive debt some graduate and professional students incur could lie in the Medical School’s tuition lock, which guarantees that students pay their first-year rate for each of the four years in the program. Though this system is imperfect, as it allows for fees to fluctuate from year to year, it still provides tangible benefits.

We encourage University officials to take a serious look at expanding tuition locks in some form to other graduate and professional programs.

If students had a guarantee for part of their attendance costs before entering a program, it would allow them to make a more informed decision before they choose to enroll.