By Sofia Netto || Staff Writer
On Tuesday, March 29th, Franklin & Marshall declared the increase in major fees for the 2022-2023 academic year. With an increase of 3.5%, the total cost will be more than $80,000 per year. For a four-year period, that is more than $322,000. While it is possible to understand the raise, as COVID made things harder for businesses (and let’s face it: in this country, education is a business), it is impossible to believe that there are people that can afford to spend more than $300,000 on college—and even more impossible to imagine why a predominantly white institution plans to make itself less affordable when we all know that minorities are underpaid.
While this is just one more reason for people to question my decision to study abroad in the U.S. when Brazilian universities are free, it also makes me wonder how admissions will work for the class of 2027. F&M argues that it gives all students aid according to what their families can afford, so does this mean that fewer students that cannot afford it will be admitted?
The answer to that question is very likely yes. The fact that the school needed to raise the costs of attendance does not make the possibility of students getting grants very high, which is a big deal for international students who rely on grants to attend. While some domestic students receive federal funding, this increase in tuition likely means that the school will become less diverse. One of the things that F&M takes pride in is the fact that 25% of the student body is international: How is it possible to promote inclusion of people from different backgrounds when the new raise is likely to change that?
Moreover, the timing and delivery of this news were poor. Many students are already worried about the cost of attendance, knowing as they do that financial aid will not increase with tuition. With just four weeks left in the semester, everyone is thinking about finals, papers, and how much homework they still have to do. Having to think about whether or not you’re going to be able to afford school next year should not be a concern. The only concession made to families and individuals reliant on financial aid was “As always, we urge students whose personal or family financial circumstances have changed to contact our Office of Financial Aid for additional consideration. F&M continues to meet our students’ full demonstrated financial need for all four years.” The remaining question: How? F&M has already shown it is in debt. How will it help students with financial needs while meeting its own already overburdened fiscal obligations? There are so many questions unanswered and so many lives that might change because of this decision, though I am sure it was not made without months of consideration. However, we cannot deny how much this will affect future and current students. As for me, all I can do is add figuring out how to make 3.5% more next year to my ever-growing to-do list.
Sophomore Sofia Netto is a staff writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.