Rising college tuition costs are putting many institutions under the gun and raising questions in the federal government.
Over the past three years, Cabrini’s tuition rate has gone up an average of 8.25 percent. This year, Cabrini’s tuition went up 8 percent. That percent puts Cabrini at No. 11 on the list of the 82 private, non-profit four-year colleges in Pennsylvania who have had a substantial increase in tuition in 2007-08.
Although there may be schools with higher raised percentages, Cabrini is No. 3 in overall tuition price on that list, surpassed only by the University of Scranton and the University of the Arts, that both raised their tuition an astounding 10 percent.
Since 2004-05, Cabrini’s tuition has raised an average of $1,900 per year, going from $24,000 in 2005-06 to $28,030 in 2007-08.
The big question many Cabrini students have begun to ask is, “Where does this money go?”
That same question has begun to spread around many colleges across the United States and into Congress.
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, when Democrats took over this year, they developed a plan that said colleges that raised tuition and fees by more than the average for their sector (four-year, two-year, for-profit, etc.) would be placed on a “watch list,” and required to establish “quality-efficiency task forces” to identify “cost reduction opportunities.” Those that limited their tuition growth would be rewarded with more Pell Grants for their students. These Democrats received much opposition and were forced to come up with a different plan.
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the watch list would be replaced with three “college affordability and transparency lists” for each sector.
Those lists would identify the top 5 percent of institutions in three categories: the most expensive, the least expensive and those with the highest percentage increases in tuition and fees over the previous three years.
Only the institutions on the third list would be subject to the bill’s sanctions. This list would directly affect Cabrini.
The raise in tuition has raised questions among both incoming and current students.
Many students are given scholarships, grants and loans for their four year attendance but worry how to pay the rest of their tuition when it continues to rise.
“It gets harder every year, but there are a couple different strategies that we use to benefit students in need,” Mike Colahan, director of financial aid, said.
Mary Ellen Anastasio, a freshman undeclared major, said of the rise in tuition, “My brother and sister currently go to Catholic High School and will be going to college next year. That means my parents will have three kids in college and it’s going to affect how my parents are going to pay for all it. I’m starting to wonder if I will be able to keep going here and if I should look somewhere cheaper.”
Perhaps more importantly, graduating seniors are now more concerned about how their finances will look once they begin paying off their debt.
“I do feel as though I have received a quality education, but the financial stresses I will be put under to repay the excessive loans I have to take out to go to Cabrini seem, in retrospect, to outweigh the education I get here compared to somewhere else, somewhere cheaper,” senior English and communication major Shane Evans said.
Cabrini continues to be highly dependent upon student-related revenue to fun operations. In 2006-2007 , tuition and fees compromised 74 percent of total revenues, according to the annual President’s Report.
College-funded financial aid is an area of ongoing concern as federal and state grants to students and colleges have not kept pace with inflation.