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Opinion: Tuition hike better be a sike

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Ohio University made a revenue of $55.6 million in 2015, including the subtraction of expenses.

OU is doing quite well, if you ask me. Everywhere students turn, they can see the money OU is spending with more and more construction. By now, students are so sick of seeing and hearing the word “construction.” However, there is a reason to this madness, and it starts with the number $55.6 million, a number administrators want to increase.

One may ask, “If we are spending all of this money on construction, how will OU take care of the cost?” The answer is simple for administrators: raise tuition.

That idea even has the support of Ohio University Student Senate President Gabby Bacha. Bacha voted for a recommended tuition hike in an Ohio University Finance Budget Planning Council meeting. Fellow Bobcats, is it not great to know that our representative has the back of future Bobcats? Bacha doesn’t even pay for her own tuition, since one of the perks of being student senate president is that the school takes care of her tuition for this academic year.

Tuition hikes are not what the campus needs right now. In a time when so many students drop out due to the rising cost of tuition, OU wants to increase the buck and pass it on to future students. The idea is truly appalling. What OU should be doing is the complete opposite of what is occurring. The money allocated to expand and build up this university should be invested more in its students. Dollars should be put back into financial aid and scholarships. What better way to invest in a university than investing in the sole reason we are all here?

Ironically, the Ohio University Athletic Department is trying to raise money for a new academic center for athletes. Hats off to President Roderick McDavis for not pulling that money out of the school’s budget. The athletic department is calling the booster-funded push a “campaign for academic excellence.” The athletic department even started a website to campaign for funding. Under the “needs” tab of the site, there is a description:

“A specialized academic center is needed for student-athletes as they face the academic rigors set forth by the university and the NCAA,” the site says. “Furthermore, a facility of this magnitude allows student-athletes to pursue their academic endeavors and balance their athletic activities.”

But at the same time, when is the last time there has been a fundraiser for academic excellence to not raise tuition? How much does it cost a student-athlete to go to class? Zero dollars. How much does it cost the school? Zero dollars. We have staff here on campus focused on calling alumni and requesting donations for “academic excellence,” via an athletic complex for student athletes.

It is time to cut the crap and not hike up tuition. When I imagine “academic excellence,” I think of the future student whose parents cannot help with tuition. I think of the freshman who is a first generation college student. I think about the student who concludes freshman year and does not get enough financial aid for year two. When he or she has to drop out, that student will not have “academic excellence.”

To think we are a school that prides itself on family.

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