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EDITORIAL: Tuition increase prompts need for additional information

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Illustration by Rob Gebelhoff/robert.gebelhoff@marquette.edu

Illustration by Rob Gebelhoff/robert.gebelhoff@marquette.edu

Full-time undergraduate students will face a 3.7 percent increase in tuition the 2014-2015 academic year, bringing the total to $35,480. At $1,280, the latest increase is the smallest yearly bump since the 2009-10 academic year.

Higher education costs continue to climb across the United States with the implementation of new technologies and additional costs of labor. Interim University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild has taken this into account while trying to reduce university costs and maintain an efficient institution. In December, deans and division heads were instructed to prepare various budgets for hypothetical cuts and to provide justification for positions within the departments.

The tuition jump is unfortunate for students, but it is a prevalent concern for administrators who are actively trying to keep tuition increases at a minimum. We should remain informed about how budgeting for the 2015 fiscal year progresses as the efforts to keep costs low will be on the students’ behalf.

Administrators appear to be in firm control of the current financial conditions of the university, taking action to use available funds in the best way possible. University donations increased by $4 million during the 2013 fiscal year from the previous year and there is still a persistent push to minimize costs.

However, we remain skeptical over the possible implications of the budget reduction. In an email, Office of Finance Vice President, John Lamb, said faculty salary expenditures would be exempt from reduction, though a primary focus will be on administrative expenditures. We are pleased faculty salaries will not suffer from the budget reduction but are concerned about the possibility of staff and faculty layoffs.

Mass layoffs could be inevitable with the departments of the university generating their own reports on marginal personnel and how additional expenses can be trimmed. With the university trying to minimize expenses and students wanting to keep the cost of tuition at low, prevention of staff layoffs should be equally considered as the budget for 2015 moves forward.

While it is inevitable for tuition to increase due to construction projects and additional technology costs, we commend the university for lowering the rising rate of tuition for students. With our reservations in mind, we hope administrators will be forthcoming with information regarding the university budget of next year as it develops.

Last year, Lamb released a breakdown of where tuition goes in the university, informing interested students and parents alike of Marquette’s overall budget. The university should continue doing this with future budgets to create a sense of openness regarding its financial state to quell frustrations.

It is in the best interest of students, staff and faculty for Marquette’s Office of Finance to be clear about the budget reduction’s development, as it involves everyone doing their part to ensure the efficiency of the university now and into the future.

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