Getting a Georgetown degree is expensive.
Right now, Georgetown University’s undergraduate tuition hovers at almost $52,000 per year, a figure that does not even account for necessary expenses such as room and board, books and other supplies. This number also reflects a 3.5 percent increase in tuition from the 2016-2017 school year.
As tuition rises, tuition transparency continues to be imperative to the student body.
Nationwide, costs of higher education are skyrocketing, chiefly because of market increases in professional wages and students’ desires for improved resources. Moreover, these increases are accompanied by our desire for increased access to financial aid.
We here at Georgetown are hit especially hard by this national trend, as Washington, D.C., is among the most expensive places in the country to live. In 2014, a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the District was the most expensive place to live in the country, as reported by The Washington Post.
Still, there are some amazing student advocates — both in the Georgetown University Student Association and across campus — who tirelessly work to produce a more affordable Georgetown experience so that this special place is not out of reach for students from low- and middle-income backgrounds.
Some of the most significant projects — many of which have been ongoing since the administration of former GUSA President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) — pertain to the hidden costs of attending Georgetown, including the price of textbooks, transportation, laundry, printing and dining.
Our long-term advocacy work has often sought to shine a light on the ongoing discussion about these costs so that university administrators remain aware of students’ continued and extremely valid opposition to cost increases at Georgetown.
But here’s the tricky part: As student advocates in GUSA, we often find ourselves at odds with this focus on affordability when one of our initiatives would incur a cost to the university and therefore to students.
More plainly, we often find ourselves pushing for improvements to departmental funding or facilities while, in the same conversations, also pushing against the tuition hikes that would pay for it.
This paradox ultimately speaks to perhaps the most salient issue around affordability at Georgetown: tuition transparency. Students need to know where our money is going.
For students to feel best served by the hefty price tag of a Georgetown education, we must better understand how that figure is determined, what the year-by-year timeline is for tuition rates and at what points there are opportunities for student input. As such, university officials must make this tuition information easy for students and parents alike to access.
Similarly, to get the most value for our tuition dollar, we must ensure that administrators understand our priorities as a student body. When we make our voices heard, university administrators and decision-makers on the board of directors know precisely where we want our money to go.
The Hoya roundtable on tuition rate-setting — this Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Great Room of the Healey Family Student Center — offers a phenomenal forum for students to directly become involved in this discussion and learn more from administrators about how our tuition is set.
Representatives from the Provost’s Office, the President’s Office and the Office of Student Financial Services will be in attendance to offer a presentation followed by small breakout group discussions in which students can voice their concerns.
I ask that we as students come out to the roundtable in strong numbers to reaffirm how strongly we feel about this topic and to ask the tough questions that will clarify the subjects that matter to us.
Kamar Mack is a junior in the College and is president of the Georgetown University Student Association.