Prospective students should think twice


Matthew Tessler, Deputy Opinion Editor

Another year, another rise in tuition costs for NYU. This year was special, as NYU announced  that the total cost of attendance would be over $70,000 — ranging from $70,586 to $78,112. These are whopping sums, though part of the reason for the increase is the new addition of estimated travel costs. While the increase follows past yearly tuition cost increases, passing the $70,000 threshold brought attention to the monumental costs of one year of attendance.

These totals are almost difficult to comprehend. Without financial aid, the total cost of a degree could be as high as $312,448. In 2013, 51 percent of NYU undergraduates received need-based financial aid or scholarships at an average of $21,738 per year. This still leaves students shouldering the vast majority of the total cost. Although the Princeton Review said NYU’s aid was the worst in the country back in 2012, the school is trying to improve. NYU spokesperson John Beckman said , “NYU has increased its financial aid budget over 140 percent since 2002,” which has led to a decrease in average student debt since 2009.

In response to criticism about the new tuition cost, Beckman said it is “in line with NYU’s recent history and that of other private universities.” But it is concerning that the price is increasing faster than the incomes of those trying to pay for school. Inflation in the United States has not exceeded 1.7 percent  in the last three years. When deciding which college to attend, students should withhold judgment on some of the more questionable choices of NYU’s finances, such as NYU 2031.

Some accepted students argued they were not aware of the price changes before they committed, but prices were listed as subject to change. Budgets are tight for many, but the reality is that the price was high before the tuition hikes, and it still is. What is really important is that prospective students don’t feel that their life will be over if they don’t attend NYU. For prospective students, the debate over the increased cost of attendance cannot devolve into a criticism of the school’s
financial decisions.

NYU has the right to play “Empire State of Mind” at Accepted Students Day and sell itself as an amazing school for whatever price it wants, but at the end of the day it is the student’s choice to attend. The average NYU student graduates with over $35,000 in debt. That’s an unbearable amount for some, and students should keep this in mind before deciding to commit. This is a great school, but it is not heaven on earth. Students must not let the allure of the city blind them to the reality of their finances.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 31 print edition. Email Matthew Tessler at [email protected].