The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Increase in tuition and fees do not benefit students

Once upon a time college was a place many high school students dreamed of going, confident,  eventually those dreams would become a reality. 

The reason they were so confident is that once, college was affordable. It is presently no secret that an American college education is more expensive than ever, generally estimated at a whopping $40,000 a year. 

Why is tuition so expensive? What are we even paying for? Who are we really paying? 

These were the questions that ran through my mind as I researched this topic, and no matter how many sites I searched through for a definitive answer, the numbers never seemed to add up.

According to, college tuition is steadily rising and financial aid and scholarships often provide little to no help. 

Yet, somehow, the average numbers of full-time university faculty members on salary has barely increased because the majority of colleges are using lower paid part time faculty to fill in the gaps. Neither students nor part time professors are benefitting from this effort to cut financial corners. 

So how does this work? If students are paying more than ever there should theoretically be an increase in full-time professors, and maybe even increases in their salaries. 

Forbes cites this as the answer: most of the money students pay in tuition is going to administrative overhead. In recent years, administration is the only area that has had major growth in colleges.

I was recently paying for my college tuition here at Mississippi State University, and the total was $3,903.45. This is not the best tuition price, but is ultimately not the worst either. 

Because I had been planning to make this charge, I had the exact amount of money I was going to need on my debit card. However, when I went to pay I was charged an extra $105 “service fee” simply because I paid with my card. 

Obviously, I was angry and when I went to ask my friends about this, they said it happened to them as well. My roommate faced a similar incident over the summer. She took summer classes and told me she was charged an extra $25 on her already $932 class simply because she paid with her debit card. 

It seems ridiculous that had we paid in cash or with a check there would have been no “service fee.” Our anger, confusion and stress levels all reasonably rose considerably when dealing with these situations. 

We are already paying outrageous prices for classes and are now getting charged extra just because we may choose to pay with our debit cards. 

I just want to know why colleges, and more specifically an SEC college in the South, feel the need to rob students of their money when they obviously have an abundance of funding. recently published an article stating that over 70 percent of young adults who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the last decade presently owe at least $35,000 in student loans. Despite this hindrance to their alumni, colleges are not backing down when it comes to defending high tuition prices. 

The article stated that between 2003 and 2013 the price index for college tuition went up by a staggering 79.5 percent. The article also featured a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who, in July, suggested that federal student aid may actually be the cause of these outrageous prices. 

The bank suggested that students having greater access to federal aid allows colleges to justify raises in tuition simply because they know they can get away with it.

Since schools know that students can rely on the government to at least temporarily assist in paying for their schooling, they know they will be able to jack up prices. 

Essentially, as long as students continue to take out student loans, tuition will continue to rise simply because colleges see an opportunity to continue increasing it. 

This theory is widely debated, but it would not be shocking to me if it were true. If people know someone needs something for economic survival, then they know that the buyer will be willing to pay a price, regardless of how ridiculous it is. 

Thankfully, I attended community college for two years prior to coming to a university. As I did the math, I came to the realization that one semester at MSU—service fees and all—is close to two years worth of full tuition at the community college I attended. 

On top of that, my $1,200 tuition each semester at community college included classes, parking pass and books. In fact, the more hours a student took, the cheaper overall tuition would be. 

I am not writing this article chiefly to complain. After all, I am aware of my privilege as a young American woman with legal, social, and financial access to a good college education. 

However, I am writing this in search of someone to blame for the unfair hike in college tuition, and it seems to me that college administrations deserve more of a call out. It is unethical for a university to rob its students, and call that tuition and fees. 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Increase in tuition and fees do not benefit students