Over the past five years, students have responded admirably — taking part in discussions with regents and legislators about the harmful effects of these kinds of tuition increases, while bearing more than their share of the financial burden for higher education. While students understand the need for some tuition and fee increases, we deserve some assurance moving forward.
Many students understand that this increase in cost will go primarily to the restoration of funding for important student services, such as the university’s offices of Financial Aid and Admission and Records. The number of students using these services has increased while funding for them has been slashed, leading to bottle-necks for important services. The funding from this tuition increase will go toward alleviating some of those issues.
However, students in this state deserve a reasonable expectation from campus administrators and regents that the services they are paying more for today will not be eliminated during the next legislative session. Should the state make the decision to further reduce funding for higher education, students should not be burdened with another tuition increase to restore the same services the Nevada System of Higher Education asked them to pay for on Friday.
The reality of Nevada’s economic downturn is simple: There has not been enough money to go around and, as a result, Nevada’s students have had to take on extra jobs, take fewer credits, put off graduation and take out more loans in order to work toward a brighter future for the state of Nevada through higher education.
As students, we can say with confidence that education is the key to a brighter future in the state of Nevada. We say that not just because we are students, but also because it’s what legislators and NSHE administrators have been telling us as tuition costs have almost doubled. If students and their families are to receive any relief from skyrocketing tuition increases we need more than to be told that they believe higher education is the key to Nevada’s economic recovery. We need them to show us; actions speak louder than campaign speeches.
Maybe the solution to this problem is as simple as the problem itself. Students and community members need the state of Nevada to reexamine options for finding funding for higher education and other vital health and human services. If not, it may become a tradition for students to return their Christmas presents every December just to cover the cost of annual tuition increases.
Casey Stiteler is the president of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, the university’s undergraduate student government.