Fix tuition foreach incoming class

The University used to offer a fixed-rate tuition plan.

One of the priciest schools in the nation has just decided to jack the prices a little more. Last week, the Board of Trustees at George Washington University, a school hailed as “the most expensive college in America,” voted for a 3.8 percent tuition increase, which will mean just under $40,000 a year in tuition for the class of 2011.

But for a school that is located just blocks away from the nation’s capital, mandatory fees such as housing, food plans and school materials will bring the grand total to over $50,000 per year.

At our own University, not including living or miscellaneous expenses, tuition and mandatory fees for this school year are $9,410 for residents and $21,040 for nonresidents. Our tuition rates have risen astronomically over the years, up hundreds of times from their original amounts, even accounting for inflation.

The University apparently offered what was called a “Guaranteed Tuition Plan” where students had the option of paying a fixed amount for up to five years. The rate usually started above tuition, but were guaranteed that tuition would stay the same over their time at the University. According to One Stop, the Office of Admissions ran this program but does not offer it anymore.

Realizing the amount paid by students with fixed tuition and the amount that tuition rose over the students’ time at the University might not have added up in the end, and that some students needed to be reimbursed, what the plan offered was control. Students could choose their University and know the money they paid their first year is the same amount they would continue to pay every year.

Many students choose the college they want to attend based on cost, and students should be a guarantee that what they pay is what they will continue to pay.

It is unrealistic to think that tuition can be fixed and stay fixed for multiple classes at a time at the University. Tuition is rising, and it will continue to rise. But can’t the University consider only raising tuition per incoming class, or at least offering students the option to pay an initially higher fixed tuition? It seems like giving students that option would help them plan better financially and gain control over their choices and money.