Consensus Opinion: Shared sacrifices

The Board of Regents’ decisions regarding the Fixed for Four Program, the full-time tuition rate and the mandatory student fee understandably come at a difficult time in the state budget, but concerns remain.

Georgia benefits from one of the lowest tuition rates in the South, helping Tech consistently rank among the nation’s best values. With this in mind, the changes in tuition (which will cause students not currently enrolled in Fixed for Four to see as much as a 25 percent tuition hike) seem like a painful, but necessary step. Nevertheless, there is no mention that once the economy heals the changes will be repealed. Student do not know the criteria used to determine when and how large of a fee is needed, nor whether the tuition changes will be re-evaluated after a pre-determined period. These changes should not sneak their way into the future.

The number of changes being enacted simultaneously and the wording used to describe them necessitate clear communication with students. For example, the increased hour requirement for full-time tuition status from 12 to 15 may mislead students into thinking that their status for things like insurance or financial aid will be affected. It is not too late for the Regents to engage students and increase awareness of their new policies.

While we expect students to help make up for the shortfalls that threaten the quality of our education. However, other state and private universities that have experienced a budget crisis this year have also turned to their faculty and staff. Furloughs or voluntary pay cuts would mean a tiny sacrifice for individual faculty members, but could make an enormous difference at the Institute-wide level. Further, faculty and staff—unlike students—will remain at Tech long enough to see that the Regents’ policies are overturned once they are no longer necessary, leading to greater and much-needed accountability.

Continuing to rely on students, many of whom will turn to credit cards and loans to pay for these new financial burdens, is neither sustainable nor fair.

The Consensus Opinion reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.