Tuition: Earn More, Pay More?
Some public-college business majors pay more than their liberal arts peers. Schools claim the increases are necessary, but are they fair?
— Business Week
Eric DeFries, a senior business major at Utah State University in Logan, has watched his tuition slowly creep up two to three percentage points a year since he arrived as a freshman. The modest increases were bearable for DeFries, who’s studying finance. That all changed when he received an e-mail from the business school last spring informing him that because he was a business major, his tuition would be an additional $445 per semester, on top of his $2,150 base tuition and mandatory fees.
While many college students are concerned about rising tuition costs, undergraduate business students at Utah State’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business and elsewhere are finding themselves facing costs they haven’t expected. For the first time this year, Huntsman undergrads who register for upper-division business classes are being charged an additional $35 per credit hour. The new fees will tack on an average of $735 more in tuition to their bills over the year, administrators say.
DeFries is part of a growing cohort of college students being singled out by schools because of their choice of major. Many universities are now deploying a practice known as differential tuition, charging different prices to individual students based on their majors or levels. It’s a model that is becoming increasingly widespread as public universities struggle with diminishing state financial support and higher operating costs.
I don’t think this is fair. I was a communications major with a business minor, and this practice probably would have forced me to change minors.
It’s sad that we’re making college education increasingly less accessible in a time when we need college graduates more than ever. If this doesn’t change the country is in for a rude awakening.