Nia Mirza is a future college student who should be happy, proud, and excited to be accepted into New York University’s (NYU) freshman class in the fall. Instead, she is reeling from the most recent tuition hike that will cost Mirza and her family $71,000 for just her first year. In exasperation, she started a petition on Change.org to pressure NYU to roll back the increase.
(Photo Credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks./Flickr)
NYU makes no bones about the fact that they increase tuition every year by “a small percentage.” Some may disagree with NYU’s understanding of “small,” as the tuition was raised from $64,000 to $71,000. Mirza also makes some other good points.
Timing Is Everything
Mirza points out that the timing of $7,000 hike was grossly unfair to students who had accepted early enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year. Early Decision students are those who enroll long before the usual deadline. They are given an early offer of admission, and if they accept, they are bound to attend that college. In other words, they cannot apply to other colleges. It’s a commitment.
According to Mirza’s petition, NYU waited until the Early Decision students had been accepted, agreed to enroll in NYU, and paid their enrollment fees. Then NYU implemented the tuition hike of $7,000 for that incoming class.
A college education is expensive, and even upper-middle class families struggle to pay tuition and fees. Mirza’s point is that both the timing and amount of NYU’s tuition hike do more than just add insult to injury. The extra $7,000 has put some incoming freshmen between a rock and a hard place. They agreed to attend NYU at $64,000 for the first year and withdrew applications from other colleges due to the binding nature of the Early Decision. Now that they must pay $71,000, Mirza says some students are considering waiting one year to start college because they no longer can afford to do so.
Based upon this story, they may raise enough money to cover the additional $7,000 and still fall short when NYU implements another “small” increase.
Return On Investment (ROI)
PayScale’s College ROI Report gives the 20-year return on investment for tuition at colleges and universities in the US. Payscale estimates four years at NYU cost about $239,300 for the academic year 2012-2013, without financial aid, and puts NYU’s 20-year ROI at $433,700. That means that while NYU is one of the most expensive school in the nation, it comes in at No. 174 for ROI. For contrast, Harvey Mudd College boasts a 20-year ROI of $985,300, with a four-year cost of $237,700, which is about the same as NYU’s.
Add a cost increase to NYU’s sky-high tuition, and you have a financially impossible situation for the least wealthy students. The bottom line, according to Mirza, is that those who can get into college should not be unable to go because of exorbitant and rising tuition costs.
“Good education is a right to all regardless of financial strength,” she writes, in her petition. “We are against the amount of debt that students are forced to incur while studying at NYU. We are against the over-pressurization of parents. We support education for all and we wish to graduate debt-free like students from many other top-tier colleges. We demand a drop in NYU’s tuition fee.”
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