We, the Georgetown University Student Association executive, request an explanation for the 4 percent tuition increase for the 2016-17 academic year through a town hall with the university administration.
The decision to increase tuition by approximately $1,920 was announced after the board of directors met in February and was approved without the consultation of any students. As evidenced by the range of circulating articles and social media posts, students are outraged and demand action.
We, the students of Georgetown, are expected to pay more than $70,000 in tuition for this academic year. As constituents of the university administration and board, we request transparency – a fair ask.
The university’s 2017-20 Financial Plan discloses a projected compound annual growth rate of 5.9 percent from 2015 to 2020 with a steady enrollment cap. This number is concerning and clearly indicates an increase in tuition raises over the next couple years. Tuition has already increased a total of 18 percent since 2012.
These numbers need context and explaining for students and parents who will be expected to pay 4 to 6 percent more in tuition each year. While such a tuition hike is standard for peer institutions, students at Georgetown are frustrated over the fact that these changes in tuition are only made known to them when they receive their tuition bill for the next academic year.
We recognize and highly commend the university’s efforts to raise financial aid by 8 percent for the next fiscal year. We could not be more supportive of Georgetown’s efforts to assure that all students, regardless of their socio-economic background, can join our community. However, ambiguity in the university’s expenditures is what brings students to protest the lack of transparency. Students cannot be expected to sift through financial plans developed for university investors, and there must be clear, student-specific communication.
How do students gain from these hikes? Do students believe this increased tuition represents the intrinsic value of a Georgetown education? The university needs to do more to answer to its most important constituent: the students.
While we, GUSA, recognize the complexities of a constrained endowment and the benefits of tuition raises to financial aid, we are not privy to the decision-making process and cannot be expected to explain this continuous rise in tuition to students. The university must answer for itself. A simple town hall explaining the actual nuances behind tuition and the need for annual raises can help alleviate the current tension among the student body.
University President John J. DeGioia, Vice President of Finance and University Treasurer David Rubenstein, Student Financial Services Dean McWade, Provost Robert Groves and University Chief Operating Officer Chris Augostini, we respectfully ask that you host a town hall with the student body and address the ongoing trend of tuition hikes. We ask that you answer to the undergraduate constituents who pay more than $70,000 a year to this institution. In a world where these decisions are made without the presence of students, lack of communication is inevitable. We ask that you please rectify this lack of transparency on your part.
We are not asking for a reversal of this year’s hike — something we recognize as impossible. We ask for transparency, answers and an ability to play a role in conversations regarding tuition. Please do the right thing.
Enushe Khan is a senior in the McDonough School of Business.
Chris Fisk is a senior in the College.