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Davis

Davis, California

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Middle: Educational affordability for the center

VENOOS MOSHAYEDI / AGGIE
VENOOS MOSHAYEDI / AGGIE

 With the recent ongoing debate about the credibility and the aims of the University of California system, our campus has become a focal point of what it means for a school to give back to its students. The issue most relevant to students in this respect would be tuition changes. Since 2012, the UC system has discussed tuition hikes for the upcoming school years. The comforting claim the regents gave was that they would provide more scholarship options and grants to the student population to ensure tuition would remain affordable. While this temporarily prevents brow furrowing and tongue clicking, it only targets a very specific group of students: the ones who actually receive financial support in the first place. What about the people who pay for their tuition to the exact penny? The wealthier end can perhaps turn a blind on a slight 15% hike (You think Bill Gates would care if Starbucks’ Tall drinks sold for $20 each?) Lower income students can still apply for more grants and financial aid. They will still be able to pay for college. But the middle class, despite having its own scholarship, still has its own plethora of financial struggles.

The biggest losers, therefore, are those trapped in between those who receive financial aid and those who are financially secure enough to not have to worry about tuition hikes.

The middle class takes on extra costs that could take a toll on their standard of living. This is especially true of the lower-middle class, which may be just above financial aid cutoff line. While a 15 percent hike may not affect the student in terms of receiving his or her education, it could potentially sacrifice the student’s family’s financial security in the long run.

The University of Regents claimed that the increase goes to bettering each respective University of California’s infrastructure, but how is that reflected on the student body? In 2014, UC Davis employed a new PR employee at a $260,000 annual salary, and look how our public image has been since then (the 2011 pepper spray incident made Facebook’s top three searches last week). According to LA Times’ finding in late 2014, universities are claiming they are expanding for more faculty and more classrooms for the student body. Tuition hikes are eventually put into good use. But when are the rooms being built? Are we being compensated for a decrease in the quality of our education? The university is asking for a lot of immediate sacrifices while putting forth an empty claim that it is all for the better.

As a student who does not receive any financial aid, I feel like my college years are being marginalized. Through the years, I’m paying more for my classes that are ever increasing in size. I’m not the university’s priority when it comes to giving back to the student population because I am a student of the middle. I can scrape by, as they say. I can wait for a better future, as they say. I can put that tuition to good use, as they say.

But when? I’m not looking for excuses. I’m not looking for empty promises. I’m asking what a middle person means to you, the University of California?

You can reach

With the recent ongoing debate about the credibility and the aims of the University of California system, our campus has become a focal point of what it means for a school to give back to its students. The issue most relevant to students in this respect would be tuition changes. Since 2012, the UC system has discussed tuition hikes for the upcoming school years. The comforting claim the regents gave was that they would provide more scholarship options and grants to the student population to ensure tuition would remain affordable. While this temporarily prevents brow furrowing and tongue clicking, it only targets a very specific group of students: the ones who actually receive financial support in the first place. What about the people who pay for their tuition to the exact penny? The wealthier end can perhaps turn a blind on a slight 15% hike (You think Bill Gates would care if Starbucks’ Tall drinks sold for $20 each?) Lower income students can still apply for more grants and financial aid. They will still be able to pay for college. But the middle class, despite having its own scholarship, still has its own plethora of financial struggles.

The biggest losers, therefore, are those trapped in between those who receive financial aid and those who are financially secure enough to not have to worry about tuition hikes.

The middle class takes on extra costs that could take a toll on their standard of living. This is especially true of the lower-middle class, which may be just above financial aid cutoff line. While a 15 percent hike may not affect the student in terms of receiving his or her education, it could potentially sacrifice the student’s family’s financial security in the long run.

The University of Regents claimed that the increase goes to bettering each respective University of California’s infrastructure, but how is that reflected on the student body? In 2014, UC Davis employed a new PR employee at a $260,000 annual salary, and look how our public image has been since then (the 2011 pepper spray incident made Facebook’s top three searches last week). According to LA Times’ finding in late 2014, universities are claiming they are expanding for more faculty and more classrooms for the student body. Tuition hikes are eventually put into good use. But when are the rooms being built? Are we being compensated for a decrease in the quality of our education? The university is asking for a lot of immediate sacrifices while putting forth an empty claim that it is all for the better.

As a student who does not receive any financial aid, I feel like my college years are being marginalized. Through the years, I’m paying more for my classes that are ever increasing in size. I’m not the university’s priority when it comes to giving back to the student population because I am a student of the middle. I can scrape by, as they say. I can wait for a better future, as they say. I can put that tuition to good use, as they say.

But when? I’m not looking for excuses. I’m not looking for empty promises. I’m asking what a middle person means to you, the University of California?

You can reach SANDY CHEN at opinion@theaggie.org

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