By Emily Harris
Elm Staff Writer
This semester is almost at an end, finals are coming up, and schedules for next year are set. There’s a lot to look forward to next year, but all of these things come at a price: the overall cost to attend Washington College will be raised 4.3 percent starting next semester.
WC does a great job giving academic scholarships to everyone who deserves them, and alumni donations cover even more student costs. Many students are impressed by the amount of scholarships they are given, and this becomes a major factor when they decide to come to WC. Even so, students who pay their own way here at WC may not be too pleased with the increase, since even such a small increase can make things more difficult.
Financial issues are already a huge reason that many people have to transfer to other schools, and consequently cannot spend all four years at WC. Even slight increases in tuition and other costs will not help the school retain students, since these increases can easily surpass what students are able to pay. Even with the availability of scholarships at the local, state, and national level, it is rare that students can cover all costs entirely on their own.
Tuition at WC poses a challenge for current students, and it may send the wrong message to potential applicants. If high school students see such a high price tag on a WC education, they may be deterred from even applying. They are not aware of the financial aid they may be eligible for, so they miss out.
There is also the possibility that other less expensive schools also give plenty of financial aid; depending on how important cost is to applicants, they may choose whichever option appears to keep more in their bank account. There is so much to be gained from an education here, but people who do not know that will have difficulty seeing past the price.
While these expenses may seem unnecessary, the overall goal seems to be improving the quality of living and education on campus. The money that we contribute to the college, along with those who make generous donations, comes back to us in ways that we may not realize. The renovation of the library will be invaluable to current and future students. It serves not only as a resource, but also as a place to study away from dorm rooms full of distractions. Changes like this benefit the entire college community, since it not only provides a better work environment for students, but for faculty as well.
Increase in tuition is nothing new to our campus, since tuition was raised by 3.5 percent last year. It has increased thousands of dollars in the past decade, and it has all gone towards an enriched and welcoming environment students can be proud of and one where they can succeed.
There are so many things that WC has improved over the years, and this should continue for future generations. The important thing is helping prospective applicants realize that the College is willing to work with them to provide financial aid if they are willing to work hard and succeed in class; this will allow the school to grow in size and success, which is something that benefits everyone at WC.