Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Editorial: Flat rate tuition doesn't benefit all students, hurts many

September 19, 2019
<p>Black Student Alliance MSU president Sharron Reed-Davis gave a speech protesting the newly implemented block tuition at MSU during Spartan Remix behind Wells Hall on Sept. 5, 2019. Many students wore black to the event in support of the protest. </p>

Black Student Alliance MSU president Sharron Reed-Davis gave a speech protesting the newly implemented block tuition at MSU during Spartan Remix behind Wells Hall on Sept. 5, 2019. Many students wore black to the event in support of the protest.

Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

Students already dedicate most of their time — and money — to school. Having said this, we should be able to make college work for us. All of us. 

The newly-implemented flat rate tuition model is a good policy for the narrowly-defined, generic, middle-class college student. But for those of us who don’t fit into that box, flat rate tuition makes college life more difficult.

Under this model, students taking 12 to 18 credits end up paying for 15. Twelve is the amount of credits a student needs to be full-time.

So if a student chooses to take 12, 13 or 14 credits — whether the reason is financial, academic or personal — they are paying significantly more.

Michigan State’s intention is to encourage students to take more credits to graduate on time. After all, we are the second-to-last in the Big Ten to adopt this model. But this 2018 decision was made without student input. The opportunity to determine how the model would be implemented came in the form of advisory committees, and only after the process began. 

Though the lack of transparency isn’t surprising, there’s still time to modify the new tuition model. Some student groups are already pushing for change.

The Black Student Alliance of MSU is speaking out about flat rate tuition, and they represent seven percent of the student population. They propose to decrease the rate from that of 15 credits to 12 credits. And we agree that students shouldn’t be paying for more classes than they’re taking. 

There are some students who take 12 credits to balance school and work. Others take 12 credits because that’s all they can afford. Some take 12 credits because of mental or physical illnesses. And there are students who take 12 credits because that’s simply what works best for them. They shouldn’t be punished for making that choice. 

Yes, flat rate tuition benefits students who take more than 15 credits. Yes, they’re paying less. But this model doesn’t benefit all students. It’s negatively impacting many. We are a diverse student body coming from many different backgrounds with many different needs. When policies are put into place behind our backs, they should at least be ones that help all of us — all of us as a whole. 

The State News Editorial Board is composed of Editor-in-Chief Madison O’Connor, Managing Editor Mila Murray, Copy Chief Alan Hettinger, Campus Editor Kaitlyn Kelley, City Editor Evan Jones, Sports Editor Paolo Giannandrea, Photo Editor Sylvia Jarrus, Multimedia Editor Haley Sinclair, Staff Representative Matt Schmucker and Diversity and Inclusion Representative Edwin Jaramillo. Murray and Jaramillo abstained from voting on the editorial.

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