Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Feeling the crunch

On some level, every person knows that the subprime mortgage crisis affects everyone, but feeling the tangible impact has been a little more difficult. Unfortunately, Boston University and its students will feel the effects as available financial aid plunges.
Next fall, experts expect a shortage of Federal Pell Grants because 1.2 million extra students will be applying. It will be the largest one-year increase since 2002-2003, and more students will also be eligible to receive the need-based award because of the economic downturn.
The outlandish cost of higher education is not a new problem. But with the current economic circumstances, it is becoming almost crippling. In September alone, the United States shed 159,000 nonfarm jobs, according to the Department of Labor. Downsizing is rapidly becoming the norm, meaning families that had been able to afford sending their children to expensive universities may now have to reconsider.
Families should not have to make any sacrifices when it comes to their children’s education, however. If the federal government can spend $700 billion to bailout major financial institutions, it should be able to increase the amount of financial aid available to college students. After all, students control this country’s future and students will be the ones to face the impacts of the current financial crisis.
Unfortunately, we are aware that additional funding for higher education may not come soon. That means schools like BU are in trouble. This is an expensive university with tuition alone being $36,540, and while the school is strong academically, it is not the sort of institution most people would be willing to spend more than they can truly afford to attend.’
Because of high tuition prices and diminishing financial aid, BU could find itself losing out to cheaper state schools. And BU is relatively pinched financially, because the school’s endowment is a paltry $1.14 billion. We commend President Robert Brown’s hiring freeze as an attempt to guard BU against economic uncertainty, but the move will be nearly irrelevant when it comes to fixing the growing aid problem.
The administration must do whatever necessary to relieve students’ financial burdens. That includes being willing to bend when it comes to specific case of financial trouble. If’ students who once could easily afforded BU’s tuition can no longer pay the expensive fees because of their family’s declining financial status, the university must offer more aid. Generally, BU must do everything it can to ensure that tuition stays as static as possible. In the long run, it should benefit all parties concerned.

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