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Volume 68, Issue 136, April 18, 2003


Staff Editorial


Matthew Dulin    Geronimo Rodriguez      Cara Sarelli          Lisa Street

Don't choke on your cake

The only sure things in life, most say, are death and taxes. But for the next two years, college students have one more thing to make them sweat: tuition increases.

Students are going to get hit, but right now itis just a matter of how hard the blow will be to their bank accounts. Will state officials take it easy and have students eating in a little more than usual? Or will the heartless sharks pull a Jesse James and have students reach for the sky while pockets are swiped and savings are robbed?

Enter the battle between the House Higher Education Committee and the Senate Education Committee.

If the House bill gets passed, officials will come out shooting from the hip, letting universities charge however much they want.

But if Sen. Florence Shapiro can iron out her new bill, students can be pressed for as much as $12 per semester hour. More money is more money, but the House bill would also deregulate tuition.

It would be unfair to leave out the fact that the House bill would have universities pick any costs more than 5 percent of a studentis family income. The gesture wonit go too far considering students just donit know how much the fees would increase with the House bill.

The Senate bill gains only more points for asking for studies to be conducted to find out exactly how the increases would affect students. Indeed, students have a voice, but Shapirois bill gives college kids some much-needed backup against a relentless tuition increase.

Ultimately, the passed bill should give universities what they want (theyill nag until their pockets are full) and consider that most students simply cannot afford immediate tuition jumps -- if conducted properly, the studies will prove this and more.

Also, officials need not make fools out of students by deregulating tuition -- thereis a reason itis called deregulation. If students think this situation is bad, think about the House bill like this: If a building needs renovating or professors want more money, students will be paying the price (as if they already donit).

Considering weire talking about increases, both bills start off with one strike. The House bill gets another with deregulation.

But the Senate bill seems to be working toward helping students deal with the inevitable increases, and that idea soothes thousands of empty wallets.

To the officials: If you think about passing a bill that will let you have your cake and eat it too, donit think students will be there when youire choking on a bill gone awry.

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