| 03.24.2018

Freezing the fear – Proposed tuition lock provides a temporary fix for rising cost of tuition


One of the greatest challenges many college students face is finding a way to fund their education.

Students often enter college paying a manageable tuition rate, but find that a couple of years down the road they have to pay far more to go to school than when they first began. Whether a student is working full-time, taking out all expenses in loans or receiving help from their parents, this puts everyone in a precarious position.

Rising tuition rates is a growing problem for college students across the country and something like a 3 percent increase could push students who are already working   40-hours a week or parents who are stretching themselves thin to pay for their child”s schooling over the financial edge.

Increasing tuition is often necessary to fund improvements to colleges and employee salaries, but those paying school bills feel the pain as money leaves their hands.

In his most recent State of the State Address, Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter tackled the sensitive subject of increasing tuition rates and proposed a “tuition lock” – a plan that would freeze university tuition for incoming freshmen for four years so that each class of students pays the same rate while they work toward their degree.

While the plan doesn”t stop tuition rates from rising each year, it does ensure that students will pay the same amount of money in tuition for all four years of college.

This could solve a number of the state”s higher education concerns, from low enrollment and retention rates to decreasing morale. A tuition lock would also take a considerable amount of pressure off of students and families and could provide a new education opportunity for graduating high school students who otherwise wouldn”t be able to afford college.

The University of Idaho in particular has experienced a problem with both enrollment and retention rates and is looking for ways to improve.

The tuition lock could help attract new students to UI because of its appeal to incoming freshmen and it could keep retention rates up, as fewer students will have to drop out of school because they”re not able to compensate for the rising cost of tuition.

Not only will this increase retention rates, but it can also help improve student morale. Each tuition increase means an additional stressor for students who are already under a tremendous amount of pressure.

A student entering college who knows the exact amount they”ll need to pay for tuition over the course of four years can budget the costs out, focus more time on their college experience and less time worrying about how they”re going to pay for the experience.

Although it doesn”t solve the foundational problem – that tuition costs are rising at a rate that students and the general public aren”t able to keep up with – the tuition lock is a temporary solution that could make the difference between a student graduating from college or having to drop out because of financial troubles.

– CB

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