TUITION INCREASE RAISES CONCERN

KAYLA MARTHALER, TRUMPET STAFF WRITER
ALEXA GANZEVELD, KV NEWS ANCHOR

In an email sent to students on Oct. 14, it was announced that Wartburg’s tuition would rise 3.88% for the 2020-21 academic year.

A survey of Wartburg students conducted on Oct. 15, showed that about 75% did not know why the tuition was rising, and 12% said that the raise in tuition affected their decision to continue attending Wartburg.

“I went to all the meetings, but I saw a bunch of numbers that had nothing to do with anything, so no, I didn’t know why tuition was rising,” Samantha Wieland, a third-year religion major at Wartburg, said.

Wartburg College is not the only school increasing tuition, college tuition has more than doubled since the 1980s and the average student’s
loan debt is at a record high of nearly $30,000.

The average tuition and room and board is $46,950 at a four-year nonprofit private institutions, according to an article from Business Insider. At Wartburg the total is $55,272 for the 2020-21 academic year, according to wartburg.edu. The demand for higher education continues to rise as employers demand increased qualifications.

As the demand for college degrees rises, so does the cost of obtaining degrees. “As an institution, over time we have increased the amount of scholarships that go to students, and that trend has gone up as had tuition,” Dr. Daniel Kittle, vice president of student life and dean of students, said. Scholarship increases along do follow with the cost of tuition does edging higher however some students struggle to meet immediate higher tuition without a mirrored raise in scholarship.

“Financial aid doesn’t go up, scholarships don’t go up, nothing fluctuates with it,” Wieland said. “I have so much in loans. I came to Wartburg expecting to pay an affordable amount with the scholarships that I got, but I wasn’t expecting for tuition to increase so much over the years I’ve been here, and I still have a whole year left.”

Not only does rising tuition across the U.S. affect college students while attending college, it is often harder after graduation. College tuition is rising eight times faster than wages, according to Forbes.

The game of loan-catchup is getting longer and longer due to the dissonance between tuition and wages. “The real cost of higher education has not increased over the last decade, but what has happened is
that family income in the U.S. has really stagnated,” Kittle said.

Working professionals are simply not making enough to pay back student loans, and putting increased stress on graduates.

“I work three jobs right now, and I was in the military,” Nayeli Torres, a recent graduate of the University of Iowa said. “I was lucky enough to get a lot of grants and scholarships, but I still feel incredibly overwhelmed by the debt.”

According to Kittle, programs and associated positions with less interest are cut in order to keep tuition lower, and programs with higher interest, such as engineering and health and human performance, are strengthened. Wartburg College will make reductions or cuts, after Jan. 1, 2020 according to Kittle.

“The challenge for higher education right now, not just Wartburg, but everywhere, is that the cost to do business is always increasing,” Kittle said. “There are a lot of external pressures putting pressure on the college and therefore putting pressure on the students.”

Students concerned about the rise in tuition are urged to write their representatives in Congress and advocate for increases in the Iowa Tuition Grant, as well as advocate for policy changes in regard to Pell Grant eligibility.

“Those are the things that would impact the pocketbooks of students and their families quickly and meaningfully,” Kittle said.

For more information on how to write a representative or to get involved with advocating for policy change, go to house.gov/ representatives.

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