Three years ago during my first Convocation at La Verne I was given something that was very dear to me – a tassel with a 2016 gem attached to it to symbolize the goal of my graduating “on time.” I made sure to keep the tassel hanging from the rear view mirror of my car as a constant reminder of my goal.
Everyday I would see the tassel swing side to side and everyday I would try my hardest as a student to succeed that goal. I promised myself to wear that tassel when the time came for me to graduate because it meant the world to me. Except, now I cannot wear or even bear to look at the tassel.
I was forced to take a leave of absence Spring 2015 because I could not afford the overpriced tuition. I felt robbed of an entire semester at La Verne simply for the reason that I could not afford its annual tuition spikes.
I was robbed of an entire academic season, the chance to graduate on time with my best friends and the chance to honestly wear my tassel during graduation seeing as I will likely graduate later than expected.
During my forced time off, I was devastated that I was no longer attending school. Not being a part of the Leo community for the majority of the year was one of the biggest heartbreaks I’ve endured. I fell into depression and any motivation or inspiration abandoned me as soon as I signed those ‘leave of absence’ forms at Woody Hall in January.
Even after grants, scholarships and even after accepting every loan the school offers I still have to pay $3,400 out of pocket each semester. Even with the help of my parents, it is easy for it to become nearly impossible for me to continue school when it costs me $6,800 each year.
Tuition spikes at the University are as annual as Convocation, Rush Week and La Verne Idol. Since my freshman year at the University, the Campus Times has reported tuition increases every single year without break. With the most recent tuition increase recently happening this past year with an increase of 4.9 percent, traditional undergraduate students are expected to pay an extra $1,765 on top of 2014-15’s 4.9 percent increase.
For nearly each tuition increase within the last four years, The Board of Trustees has claimed that dedicating some portions of the spike would go towards to financial aid for students but it seems rather ridiculous that tuition spikes occur each year in order to go towards financial aid. This just seems like an ironic solution to take care of the students’ financial well-being with an increased bill.
I understand tuition spikes are aimed towards bettering the University, but I am a firm believer, and a perfect example that the tuition spikes come at a high price – the welfare of the University’s students.
One of the very first things mentioned in the University Mission Statement is, “…to provide opportunities for students to achieve their educational goals,” so how is the positive outcome of tuition spikes going to be advertised when students like myself are forced to halt their education to save up for the opportunity to even attend the University?
The 2016 tassel is gone as of earlier this year because it just killed me to look at it and know I was unable to achieve my goal of graduating in four years with the friends I made along the way. It remains out of view and tucked away, just as my reverence for the University.