Freeze tuition increases until UK students can see improvements

The absence of accountability seems inevitable whenever large bureaucracies start collecting money, and UK is no different.

Under the Top 20 Business Plan, tuition increases are set to remain at 9 percent each year. Unfortunately for those of us attending UK, this 9 percent increase in cost is unlikely to guarantee us a better education.

As UK collects more money the assumption would be that our academic experience here would improve respectively.

But I doubt this is the case.

These tuition increases at UK should be temporarily frozen until we can find more efficient ways to hold UK accountable for how the money is being spent.

Just as I don’t expect the government to use my money wisely without any accountability, I’m leery of assuming that those in charge of UK’s finances will act responsibly. Students and parents should not just roll over every year as UK tacks on another tuition hike with the promise of a better education from it.

I understand the necessity of tuition increases at UK, but they should not be permitted without the administration being able to demonstrate how my educational experience at UK is improving.

This issue over a steady 9 percent increase in tuition would not exist if undergraduate students at UK didn’t constantly feel neglected in favor of the more attractive idea of becoming a top-20 research university.

It’s becoming more apparent that undergraduate education is all but worthless at UK, and it’s insulting to ask us to pay more money for the same education every year.

This isn’t to say that tuition increases should be flatly rejected, but when it’s clear that our money is doing little to improve our education, these increases need to stop.

Maybe when we see substantial change in undergraduate education, we can start talking about unfreezing tuition costs.

For starters, UK should start announcing plans to renovate older buildings on campus.

These buildings, such as the White Hall Classroom Building, Dickie Hall and many of the residence halls on North Campus, are not only an embarrassment to UK, but are unacceptable as places where students are expected to live and learn.

According to an Aug. 31 Kernel article, approximately 700 students live on UK’s campus without air conditioning. How can we be expected to pay tuition increases when basic student needs like a reasonable dorm with air conditioning still haven’t been met?

Students should also ask themselves if these tuition increases will have any effect on the number of graduate students teaching courses at UK. Surely we can afford to have more professors teaching undergraduate classes if we’re expecting students to perpetually pay more every year they attend.

According to The Princeton Review, UK is currently ranked No. 4 as a school where “Teaching Assistants Teach Too Many Upper-Level Courses.”

Although I’ve had some excellent graduate students teach my classes, it’s preposterous that I should be expected to pay more for my education when my school is notorious for the amount of TAs who substitute for fully qualified professors in the classroom.

Many goals like the Top-20 Business Plan at UK are noble and beneficial to the university. Goals like this would make tuition increases on students reasonable in most situations.

But undergraduates at UK have too many basic problems that have not yet been fixed, and it’s shameful for students to be expected to pay more for tuition until they are.

Brett Nolan is a philosophy and political science sophomore. E-mail [email protected]