In a recent update, President Andrew Hamilton and the Affordability and Steering Committee and Working Group expanded on their attempts to create a more affordable college experience for students. The main proposed solution is NYU Accelerate, which supports pathways to early graduation. These include taking two credit classes along with J-term and summer classes. However, this proposal is problematic and offers no new solution besides one which many students have already taken initiative with.
The Working Group’s proposal is a gimmicky slap in the face since twenty percent of students already graduate early. The proposal is taking an unfortunate reality of NYU’s unaffordability crisis and passing it off as a solution. Also unfortunate is the committee’s suggestion that students spend two years at Borough of Manhattan Community College instead of actually making their own institution more affordable for those who do not want to choose that path. These supposed solutions seem to suggest the Working Group believes that four years at NYU is a luxury for the richest students, even as most students in the US require more than four years to finish. The Working Group is implying that the full college experience is an exclusive luxury for students who can afford the tuition.
Currently, NYU’s scheduling system will not permit students to take more than eighteen credits in one semester. In fact, if a student wishes to do this, they must file a special petition proving that they are capable of handling the heavy course load. Under this policy, NYU recognizes just how difficult taking more than the traditional 16-18 credits is. Yet, their solution — that they supposedly have been working on for a year — to NYU’s immense affordability problem is to ignore their own advice and tell students to take more classes in less time. Not only is this a lazy suggestion, but is also not even a solution for most. Many students who start out in Liberal Studies or double major already struggle to graduate in four years, much less three. Furthermore, J-term and summer classes still cost extra, making the total cost only slightly less expensive than four years of NYU tuition.
While the effort to increase affordability is certainly appreciated, if it is to be done successfully it should provide students an equal opportunity to achieve an NYU education, not grant that privilege only to well-off students. Hamilton’s current proposal doesn’t offer a solution so much as it encourages the makeshift solution that students were already employing to make it through college while paying less. Instead of cheating students out of a carefully constructed four-year education plan, Hamilton’s efforts need to gear more towards programs like reducing the amount of required textbooks and expanding campus shuttles if he hopes to truly make make NYU affordable to all students.
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