Editorial: students should support tuition freeze

Memorial Hall could see $6 million in renovations.


The cost of higher education and corresponding debt will likely be one of our generation’s biggest hurdles. Many current students will be paying off student loans well into their mid-30s, and yet universities, including UK, show no signs of slowing down tuition rates. 

However, a bill in the Kentucky Senate could force a tuition freeze for the state’s public universities, saving future students and their parents thousands of dollars. 

Senate Bill 75 would freeze tuition and fees at public universities for four years and require universities to get permission from the state to raise tuition after those four years are over. 

“What’s happened is these universities … haven’t slowed down at all,” said Sen. Dan Seum, R-Louisville, who proposed the bill. “They just keep building and building and building, and — I think — on the backs of these kids.”

Kentucky activist Wesley Scott is recruiting students from across the state to rally in Frankfort in February. Seum said he had not talked to President Eli Capilouto about the bill, but hopes university presidents will get involved and support it. 

“I want these kids, these students, to be the priority of the college — not the building program, not (UK’s) research and development program,” Seum said. “We even put our sports programs above these kids.” 

Tuition and fee increases are often attributed to shrinking state funding, a source of money that could see even more drastic cuts if Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget goes through. 

The budget would cut UK’s state appropriations by 9 percent ­— from $279.6 million to $254.4 million. While this drop will present serious troubles for UK, students should not bear the brunt of this financial shortfall.

Students have done their fair share of making up for the state’s shrinking budget. State appropriations for UK dropped by $57 million from the 2007-08 fiscal year to 2014-15, but tuition revenue increased about $178 million over the same  period. 

“Where’s the end of this, where’s it going?” Seum said. “This is why we’re shining light on the issue.” 

Scott said he is hoping for a student-led push, as well as support from professors. He hopes to reach out to political groups from all eight public universities in Kentucky. 

“This directly affects everyone,” Scott said. “(It’s) not just a political issue, it’s a student issue.”

Students should march in Frankfort in support of this bill. Standing up for our own interests is the only way to stop the rise of tuition rates.

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