A junior at the University of Southern California writes a letter to University president lamenting how expensive a four year college degree has become. Giovanni Moujaes’ timing here is somewhat incongruous as he likely purchased a plane ticket, stayed in expensive hotel, bought pretty girls expensive drinks, dined in fine restaurants, etc during Spring Break.
Dear President Nikias,
Spring break is over and yet many of my fellow Trojans come back restless, not because of the fun they had traveling but because of the looming bills and payments that await them.
While students should be able to focus and hone in on getting good grades and enjoying their college experience, many face the pressing issue of college affordability.
Two weeks ago, students rallied against an $1,978 increase that would put tuition at $51,442, higher than Stanford, Yale and Harvard. The demonstration drew national media representation, yet you refused to meet with any of the courageous students(you mean whining about the debt you owe the lender?) who shared their stories with the public. Your administration even turned a prospective student away from attending the University after he witnessed the rally and made a point to voice his concern to officials.
I urge you to reconsider and meet with the students who have expressed their financial hardships(Your financial hardships are your burden….school is in no way required to adjust fee schedules or tuition rates….As long as their enrollment numbers meet their targets, they are happy no matter who gets left in the cold). We need to know where our money is going as any good ratepayer should. And most importantly, I want you to explain your side of the story as to why such obscure procedures continue at a leading academic institution.
I cannot help but continue to shed light on a serious problem that has affected thousands of students and me. The rising cost of education at USC forced me to consider transferring out of the University last year when I was a sophomore.
I spent hours writing college essays in addition to my actual college essays and found myself stressing over every grade. Without doubt, it was one of the worst points in my life. Knowing that the amount of time and effort I put getting into this school in the first place could be washed away was hard to even comprehend. It felt like it was senior year of high school all over again, except much more expensive.
The USC Financial Aid Office, instead of congratulating my parents for making smart financial decisions to better prepare them for a sustainable retirement, slapped them on the wrist. To maintain the grants I received my freshman year, my family would have to forgo the future guarantees of financial security that they had tirelessly worked for(Why don’t you drop out of school and get a job?). Having parents who went through the worst in the real estate and health insurance industries during the recession, it made no sense for me to put them at any more of a risk. The investment they were already making in my education — and soon to be my sister’s — was more than I could ever ask for.(I wonder if the tenured professors of USC would take pay cuts to make tuition lower?)
It was by the grace of the Town & Gown of USC that I was able to stay and finish my college career as a Trojan. Because of the stress this situation put on my family, my sister chose not to even apply to USC. I know other families that have made the same decision.(Going to college is not a right as you seem to believe, it has a price tag, especially at high end institutions of learning like USC)
USC cannot continue to tout all of the positives it’s doing in relation to financial aid (Pell grants, endowment, etc.) by diverging from the truth. I commend Undergraduate Student Government and other students for working hard to get this very truth from you and the administration, and I will continue to back such efforts. I will always step up to the plate and defend USC’s advancements, but your administration’s failure to communicate with students makes it harder for me to do so.(The student’s opinion has no weight on matters regarding the price of tuition, of course any lower to middle class student is gonna want lower tuition rates)
What am supposed to say when a family comes up to me during an admitted student reception and says, “How is financial aid at USC? Is it guaranteed?” or “Do you know where the money goes?” A family can make $150,000 a year and get nothing in financial aid; yet, that’s almost what it takes to pay for one year of schooling when taxes and other expenditures are put into play. It just does not make sense.
Even partial scholarships have less of an impact on students every year. A $15,000-a-year award will barely cover tuition hikes by the time a student graduates. And yet we are meant to make a big deal about it. Somehow now that student can afford college. Somehow, now that student can truly be a proud Trojan.
Thousands of students are in worse financial predicaments than mine. I’m writing this in terms of principle and that no one should have to convince their family to lessen their future financial security, especially after a recession, to attend the college of their dreams.(Giovanni, the reality is today’s colleges are run as businesses with bottom line financial goals similar to the many for profit vocational schools. There are plenty of families who are not on the financial margin who can send their progeny to universities without out having to scratch and claw to pay for it. That is why your eloquent pleas will fall on deaf ears since there are plenty of potential students who can sign on the dotted line and afford it. Nobody cares about fair anymore….Good Luck, you will land on your feet somewhere)