OPINION | Solve donation deficit by controlling tuition hikes

Butler University may find it cannot draw water from wells that have already been drained dry.

Across the nation, universities have raised tuition.

Butler is no exception.

In 1984 Butler tuition was $5,640—and that was after a nearly 14 percent increase from the year before.

Today, with inflation, that would come out to $12,210.36.

This leaves approximately a $18,899.64 difference between what it actually is, $31,110, and what it should be.

That is a total of more than $135 million in extra money from all full-time undergraduate students.

That’s a lot of money, and students and alumni have a lot invested in terms of loans and time.

It is even more overwhelming when compared to the income in-state students and their families rely on to pay this bill.

Butler should stop increasing tuition if it expects its alumni to donate each year.

According to the US Census Bureau, the average Hoosier per capita made $24,058 in 2010.

According to Forbes, 90 percent of all students at Butler receive some sort of financial aid.

When looking at those numbers, I understand why only 24 percent of alumni want to donate after graduation.

Most of the recent alumni are probably neck deep in loans from attending Butler.

Many also may feel that even if they can afford to donate, they already gave enough through their tuition.

With the exception of pharmacy students, the average starting salary for all other academic colleges is less than what it costs to attend Butler.

That leaves little money left over for donations.

We all probably know that the country’s economy plays a role in how people spend their money, and these are just a few examples of why donors don’t want to contribute to the Butler cause.

Butler is not the only university experiencing low donation numbers.

As President Jim Danko embarks on his tour to promote the university and raise donations to combat these effects, he should fire up the alumni base that does have money to give and encourage donation through a number of ways.

He could promote what the university does with tuition money and show donors what their money will go toward.

Transparency will promote donations, as will making people feel like they are a part of the university.

These tactics would appeal more to potential alumni who have a spare dollar or two to support the Butler cause and donate.


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