Columnist: Decisions should be made to benefit all of Butler

By Maggien Monson

The Butler University Faculty Affairs Committee is working with senior level administrators to discuss the proposed changes to the tuition remission policy endorsed by the Board of Trustees last December.

The policy in place states university faculty and their dependents, spouses and domestic partners can attend classes at Butler without paying tuition. These individuals qualify for the program once the faculty member has worked for Butler for nine months.

The Board of Trustees has recommended that employees’ spouses and dependents should not receive a full tuition waiver for either program until the employee has worked at Butler or a member institution for at least three years.

Under the proposal, employees using tuition remission to take classes at Butler would not see their benefits change. Employees would not be able to apply for tuition exchange until they have worked three years at Butler.

A “grandfathering” process was also recommended with the potential changes. This means that current faculty would not be subjected to a new policy. Their dependents and spouses will still receive 100 percent tuition remission.

Overall, the proposed changes to the policy are not extremely significant. Financially, the faculty’s children and spouses will still receive substantial help from the university.

One group that would be impacted by the proposed changes are future faculty whose children are old enough to go to college within the faculty member’s first three years of employment.

The proposed changes won’t drastically affect current faculty, financially.

There will still be a tuition remission policy whether changes are approved or not. New faculty members’ dependents would not have access to full benefits immediately if the changes were approved, but the benefits will not disappear.

These possible changes will help the university financially, which will hopefully benefit all Butler students long term.

Discussion of future policy changes should center on the majority of Butler students. The needs of the general student population are more important than allowing faculty’s children to immediately attend classes free of tuition.

Other proposed changes to the policy will also benefit Butler students.

The suggested changes state the university will have the right to “deny tuition remission in certain programs with capacity constraints.”

Class sizes are growing at Butler. Students are struggling to find spaces in classes they need to take.

Full programs need to prioritize paying students. This policy change would leave classroom seats available for the growing, paying student population.

The tuition remission policy shows appreciation for the faculty and the work they do for the university. The revised policy would not lessen the value of that.

As the Faculty Affairs Committee discusses the proposal, members should consider how to help our expanding university accommodate all its students better.