BU, students work to make college affordable

Tuition CrackBy Jimmy Oltman and Wes Notestine

Colorado Springs, Colo., junior Chuck Voss is paying his own way at Baylor. It’s not cheap.

According to the Baylor Student Financial Services website, the total an average Baylor student pays for two semesters of undergraduate education is $51,214.

Voss, who holds a job with the Student Foundation, has signed up for the Army ROTC program just to help cover his education costs. The ROTC program offers a variety of college scholarships, including some full-ride scholarships such as the one Voss attained part-way through his freshman year at Baylor.

This is just one example of what students are doing to avoid leaving college in debt.

“I’m constantly worried about my money situation,” Voss said. It’s a problem affecting students across the country. According to the Institute of Education Sciences, between the 2000-2001 school year and the 2012-2013 school year, the national average for public college tuition prices has risen 42 percent, accounting for inflation.

In that same time period, Baylor’s tuition has risen from $11,032 to $30,586 — that’s a 177 percent increase. Tuition has increased at Baylor every year since 2001, and the pattern suggests that tuition will continue to rise.

So what drives up the cost?

On August 21, 2012, the Lariat reported in “Regents ‘rise up’ student fees” that the Board of Regents voted to increase graduate and undergraduate tuition and student fees for the 2013-2014 school year. For undergraduate students enrolled in 12 or more hours, this will be a 6.5 percent increase. These tuition rates will take effect in August 2013.

Reasons for the increase included an operations increase, faculty, new programs, new hires and increasing the scholarship fund to help provide an education for students who demonstrate a financial need.

In the article, Baylor Board of Regents Chair Richard Willis said the school has to look ahead to the future. Everything must be paid for he said. Baylor can’t just react to change, but instead, should create change by planning ahead years in advance of changes.

“While it may be unfortunate that costs keep going up, it brings more opportunity and growth to the school as well,” said Frisco freshman Kim Bray.

This tuition increase for the 2013-2014 school year comes at a time of record enrollment. In September 2012, the Lariat reported a record overall enrollment at Baylor. The number of students, 15,364, was the highest in Baylor’s history.

Baylor prides itself in a small faculty-to-student ratio.

Willis explained that with a growing enrollment at Baylor, new hires are needed to help keep the ratio where it is currently.

“I am thankful for the opportunities Baylor and AROTC have provided me,” Voss said. He said he will graduate from Baylor with no debt. Although the cost of a Baylor education is rising, the number of students who get scholarships is high. In the “Regents ‘rise up’ student fees” article, Willis said 95 percent of all freshmen at Baylor receive some financial aid.

Whittier, Calif., freshman Angela Valencia-Gowing reaffirmed Willis’ statement.

“I first became interested in Baylor because of the financial aid they were willing to offer and to be part of the family atmosphere,” Valencia-Gowing said.

These are two of the three expectations of Baylor students and families as explained by Lori Fogleman in the “Regents ‘rise up’ against fees” article.