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Can’t put a price on education
Posted Oct. 10, 2008

Last week, we published a story about enrollment being down at the University of La Verne, and I started to think.

The school is obviously suffering from lower numbers. Parking has become a little bit better (although it is still no walk in the park), and most of my classes have even fewer students than they used to. Hours are being cut at the library to conserve resources, and attendance is down even more at school sports events and activities. Financial aid packages are being cut, and it certainly seems like students are getting fewer scholarships and work study positions. I hear my friends (those who were not forced out of school for dire financial reasons) worrying about their loans and working long hours to pay for tuition. Instead of partying it up on the weekends, my friends are slaving away, hoping that their paychecks will be enough to pay for textbooks and school supplies.

It worries me that our school seems to be falling on hard times. Of course, our entire country is facing some struggles—all you have to do is turn on the news and hear about our declining economy. But college should be a place where young people do not have to worry about making ends meet.

I fear that the special, unique environment La Verne has instituted over the past decades will be lost if students turn away from the outrageous tuition charges. Students should not have to look at the price tag for an education and admit that they do not have enough to money to improve their lives with a positive learning experience.

I look back at all of the opportunities I have had at La Verne and all of the many lessons I have learned. It makes me extremely sad to think that there are students who want to come to this school, but have turned away from being a Leopard because enrollment just costs too much.

I would gladly go back to parking seven blocks away if it meant that the school could open up to more students again. I would rather be in a prosperous setting, than in a place where the population is decreasing every semester. It is depressing to think that other individuals will not be able to come here and enjoy the same traditions that my classmates and I have been treated to.

I do not really have any ideas on how to increase enrollment. I do not even fully agree that a brand new Campus Center will drive the students to stream in. I also do not think that “rebranding” will do anything either—changing our name probably will not influence people one way or another to attend the school.

However, the one thing I do know for sure, and it seems pretty much like common sense, is that students cannot afford thousands and thousands of dollars for an education every semester. I know that private schools are supposed to be more prestigious and offer better academic experiences. But part of college life is interacting with friends and peers. How are we supposed to do that if everyone is so broke they stop attending ULV?

The administration needs to work on lowering tuition or helping more with financial aid. This may be a naïve request, but I want other young people to get as much out of La Verne as I have. And that certainly will not happen if we are all bogged down with loans and debts the rest of our life.

Teach us that by giving us an education, you are giving us the tools to make this college and this country better. Faculty are training current students who are ready to make a difference. But we cannot do much if we are surviving on top ramen and pleading with banks to help fund our dreams to finish college.

Erin Konrad, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at erin.konrad@laverne.edu.