Butler is getting more expensive

Cartoon by Gordon Johnson

DOUGLAS ROCHE III | OPINION COLUMNIST | droche@butler.edu

Like Butler was not already burning a hole into your wallet.  

On Jan. 17, President James Danko announced via email a 4 percent increase in tuition and a 3 percent increase in room and board. This will take effect in the 2017-18 school year.

The decision came following discussion at a Board of Trustees meeting in December that Danko said was a significant topic of consideration at that meeting.

“We are extremely sensitive to the fact that increases can present a hardship for some of our families, and I can assure you that we have made every effort to keep Butler’s costs and increases to a minimum,” Danko’s email stated.  “We also believe, however, that positive student outcomes make a Butler degree well worth the cost.”

Butler’s website lists full-time tuition can cost from $18,700 to $20,015 per semester depending on your major, while room and board varies depending on where you live. Typically, this exceeds $10,000 if you are not living in a fraternity or sorority house.  

The tuition and costs page on Butler’s website states tuition will cost $38,900 for the next school year and between $13,000 and $14,000 for room and board fees.  

The increases in tuition and housing affect everyone differently, but with estimated total costs at Butler well over $50,000 dollars, the average student here is already in a hole with its current price tag.

It would be nice to know where our money is going and if we will see the benefits of this further investment beyond where it leads the student body after graduation.   

Where that extra money will go is unknown; but, Grace Anderson, first-year communication science and disorders major believes it should benefit the students, rather than looking too far ahead with the abundance of projects the campus will undergo.  

“I constantly find myself, along with my friends, eating unappealing food,” Anderson said. “There is a limited number of healthy food choices and I find myself spending extra money on food instead of eating at Atherton or ResCo.”

Anderson also pointed out the room for improvement in the campus’s lighting.

“My walk to and from the library is very dark and I do not feel safe walking by myself at night,” she said. “I think Butler is thinking too far into the future with the 2020 vision and is setting aside ideas that could benefit the current students.”  

Junior pharmacy major Jordan Rauh believes every student should have a locked-in tuition during their time at Butler.

“It feels kind of like false advertisement when Butler continues to raise my tuition. My scholarship increases one percent a year when my tuition and housing is raising by three to four percent each, and unlike other universities, I have to live on campus my first three years.

“This change will follow me for six years. You do the math and think about how many unexpected charges a senior in high school didn’t think about or expect,” Rauh said.

Rauh believes the money these tuition bumps are going to should go toward the facilities that could use improvement, like Jordan Hall, the Health and Recreation Complex and residence halls, rather than projects apart of the 2020 Vision.

“My six years here will all be under the ‘2020’ umbrella,” she said. “I will never be here when Butler is at its full beauty because there will always be construction. If Butler must increase the tuition, I would like the funds to go to projects that improve parts of the school its current students use.”

Initial reactions from some of my friends were the prospect of increased financial aid, but that sounds unlikely from the email we received.  

“Over the last five years, we have increased our investment in scholarships and financial aid by nearly 30 percent – significantly greater than the increase in tuition over the same period,” Danko said.

It is also very probable cost bumps will place a burden on students and families, many of whom are already struggling to pay Butler’s fees.

I do hope, like most of the student body, that the effect of these cost bumps will be ones we can see the benefit of.  Do I think I will?  Probably not.  

While we invest thousands in the education and resources Butler has to offer, it is fair to hope Butler is investing in the students they have now and not just the ones they will have in three years.

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