A letter was sent home by Gale Stevens Haynes, provost and chief operating officer, informing students of an increase in tuition for the 2013-14 academic year, about a month before school started.
The letter stated that the university will implement “a modest increase,” a little over $1,200 more than the previous year. Undergraduate students will now be paying a flat rate of $16,185.
The tuition for the 2013-14 school year is now $32,370, without room and board fees. That’s not all; each student is also charged a university “activity” fee of $850 per semester. This money is supposed to go toward campus programming that you may or may not attend.
That puts the grand total for the average undergraduate student at $34,070. Last year the total was $32,862, and in 2009, tuition and fees for undergraduate students was $28,770.
“I think that’s kind of crazy that I didn’t even realize that it increased so much in the four years that I was here,” said Sadie Hofler, senior Social Work major.
However, if you live on campus or have a meal plan that figure is higher. A student who resides in the dorms, depending on their choice of living style, could be paying an additional $6,610-$9,164. The meal plan on top of that could be a charge of anywhere between $3,900-$4,700.
With tuition and fees, the maximum for a meal plan and housing, a student could be paying $47,934 a year to attend Post. This does not include additional charges like health insurance, music lessons, books, and other school activities.
The letter sent by Haynes reports that “To help offset tuition, your institution has allocated $52.2 million in annual scholarship support and financial aid, which is in addition to federal and state aid.”
Students are encouraged to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) form to determine their eligibility for aid. The United States Department of Education determines eligibility by looking at parents’ income and assets, family household size and the number of family members attending college.
Students are awarded aid that is specific to them. However, there are also many other options available to seek aid elsewhere. Students can learn about federal aid programs, LIU Post scholarships, New York State aid programs, and other sources of assistance at liu.edu/post/finaid.
The amount of aid can vary each year and assistance can be taken away based on grade point average requirements.
Some students do not feel as though they are getting enough help with financial assistance. Marissa Kofmehl, a sophomore Public Relations major, said, “I have one scholarship, and then they were like, ‘good luck on your own.’”
Another student explained the fluctuation of his scholarships. “I’m getting help, but it went down from when I initially started coming [to Post]. They did help me a lot in the beginning, but now I don’t see how [tuition] went up, but I don’t see scholarships reflecting the same increase. ”The tuition increase letter by Haynes also said, “staffers can help you develop flexible payment plans.” However, Hofler said this was not the case. “It took a lot to get them to work with us to try to pay every- thing,” Hofler added.
Not all students will get enough financial assistance to pay for school, and many will have to take out loans. One of the most common companies that students use is SallieMae, which requires a co-signer and an interest rate of 3.17 percent to 9.37 percent.
How much are students willing to pay for an education? Is it worth it in the end? According to a study done by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 7.9 percent of college graduates are unemployed. In fact, recent graduates often have difficulties finding work within their major and about half are working at jobs that do not require a degree (research from Center for College Affordability and Productivity).
Troy Mossman, a senior Public Relations major, explained that he does not understand the year-to-year tuition increase, and sees no changes or reasons for the additional $1,200. Mossman concluded with, “This is what people get paid in a year. Middle class families or something under middle class are trying to support themselves and their child going to school at the same time. It’s just not fair.”
Operating Officer Gale Haynes and Joanne Graziano, associate provost of Financial Student Services, have not responded to requests for comment about the recent tuition increase.