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Staff Editorial: If you’re raising tuition, tell us where it’s going

Last Thursday, every student received an email notifying them that our tuition has been increased — an email current students and recent graduates have received every year of our college careers (including those during the pandemic). The tuition will now be $64,500, an increase of $2,750 (4.5%) from last year. This is alongside increases in housing prices, meal plans, and student activity fees. Depending on student’s accommodations, this comes to a total that ranges from $84,352 to $87,644.

Last year, in a similar staff editorial, we called on the administration for full transparency regarding the need for a tuition raise and where the new funds will go. Following the article, the administration did not answer our calls. Vague terms like “student services” do not help parents, guardians, and students justify paying this exorbitant cost. This year’s tuition raise is the highest since 2014 with little to no information on how the money will be spent. Will the University increase wages for its workers? Improve housing? Adopt better financial aid policies? 

The letter mentioned many important programs that they have implemented to support students, such as new scholarships and fellowships and the Make Way: Our Student Initiative. Washington University also implemented a new “no loan” financial aid policy effective fall 2024. However, these programs are not enough to justify a raise in tuition if it isn’t clear that this raise in tuition will go to said policies. This policy is a great step in eliminating the barriers to attending WashU, but a raise in tuition creates another one. As we said in last year’s staff editorial, “raising tuition once again in the midst of a national conversation on student loan debt and the affordability of college would signal that WashU is not fully committed to improving access to college education, countering the mission of its recent programs.”

We appreciate Chancellor Martin’s effort to explain WashU’s $11.5 billion endowment and how it is spent in his “Endowment 101” series. We ask for similar explanations and breakdowns of tuition. If we are able to learn how other people’s money is being spent, we would like to know the same for our own increasing investments in this University.

Staff editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of our editorial board members. The editorial board operates independently of our newsroom and includes members of the senior staff.

Amelia Raden, Junior Forum Editor

Sylvie Richards, Senior Forum Editor

Jasmine Stone, Senior Forum Editor

Reilly Brady, Managing Forum Editor

Jordan Spector, Junior Forum Editor

Cathay Poulsen, Chief of Copy

Ian Heft, Senior Sports Editor

Lewis Rand, Junior Sports Editor

Clara Richards, Editor-in-Chief

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