Poll: Tuition rising fast

By Jean Dobrzynski

Tuition hikes could leave college out of reach for most students, according to a national poll.

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education recently commissioned the Gallup Organization to do a national survey on the rising college costs.

According to the poll, 87 percent said costs are rising at a rate that will leave students without the opportunity to go to college.

Most NIU administrators and students agreed and were disturbed by the results.

University Legal Counsel George Shur said the government must step in if there is to be a solution.

“What happened was the inflationary increase in higher education caught up with the inflationary increase in society,” he said.

Shur said the government owes a helping hand to students.

“Part of living in a democratic society is subsidizing people less fortunate than you,” he said.

Senior sociology major Gregor Dadbaw said the rising costs will affect some more than others.

“The students who come from low-income families are the ones who will suffer the most,” he said. “My parents pay for my tuition … but I still suffer because I pay for my car payments, food, clothes and anything else I need.”

Senior human and family resource major Heather Barta, who also is getting financial help from her parents, said the increases are not acceptable.

“I think the increasing costs would be acceptable if the quality of education was also increasing,” she said. “However, that’s not happening so it’s not acceptable.”

But NIU Ombudsman Tim Griffin said he is skeptical of the possibility a student is deadlocked without a choice.

“I’m not convinced there is a situation where a person can’t borrow money and pay off their long term debts in installments,” he said. “Most can’t afford to pay for it out of their pocket, but there are other options.”

Although Griffin said he does not dispute the poll, he questioned if the trend has already begun.

“The question is ‘Will it be out of reach for the average person?’ and the answer is it already has,” he said. “There are certainly a minority of students paying their entire balance. In this respect, it has already become out of reach.”

The last NIU tuition increase was a 5 percent hike in April. The tuition hike cost full-time students an extra $43 per semester.