Letter to the Editor: Raising tuition lowers student opportunities

I would like to commend columnist Annie Hughes for her article “Stand up for affordable college tuition.” She is right.

Students across the country are taking a stand for their financial futures including in Florida, New Jersey, California and right up the road in Ohio. Students in the UK (United Kingdom) turned out in the tens of thousands to protest tuition increases. Six thousand turned out in Quebec.

These students recognize that they are fighting for their educations and fighting against mounting debt.

Do you think the extra fees will give you a better education or smaller classes?

Don’t hold your breath. In an uncertain economy, do you want to be saddled with an extra $2,000 in debt?

We have been told our entire lives that we must go to college to get a “good job,” but those are becoming harder to come by. Think of how much of your post-college income will go directly to paying off student loans if those “good jobs” aren’t available.

To make matters worse, how will you pay these loans when saddled with your mom and dad’s medical expenses with Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block?

This is just the beginning. If you have younger siblings, cousins or friends, what kind of tuition do you think they will be expected to shell out in the coming years to attend college?

This is all coming down with the proposed $1.8 billion in cuts to Pell Grant program. This will primarily impact first-generation college students.

When university is out of reach, how can we expect such students (like myself) to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps”?

This will disproportionately impact students of color, which in turn will create a less diverse campus. Educators and students of color, as well as first-generation students, have every right to be angry.

In the midst of our “financial crisis,” the Board of Trustees proposed writing a check for $825,138 to President Todd on top of his salary and service board payment of $354,000. As Ms. Hughes points out, Coach Calipari received a $31,650,000 eight-year contract.

Unfortunately, these figures are not the exception.

With major corporations refusing to pay their taxes and the nation’s billionaires scrambling to hold onto Bush-era tax cuts, why are we (the lower 98 percent of the nation) expected to constantly pay more and pull the country out of debt with our blood, sweat and tears?

Why must we pay for Wall Street recklessness with our health, education and futures?

If we don’t stand up now, we will be bled dry by decisions made by the rich who pay off politicians in Washington and Frankfort and sit on our Board of Trustees here in Lexington.

If we don’t demand a truly “shared sacrifice” now, many of our futures, and the futures of our children, will be worse off for our ignorance.

Enku Ide

Sociology graduate student