On Tuesday, NYU President Andrew Hamilton sent a memorandum to the NYU’s community outlining the Affordability Steering Committee and Working Group’s projects to reduce tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year. The email highlights that NYU’s tuition only increased two percent in the last two years — the smallest increase in the last two decades — but among this small, but important accomplishment, there are many measures that fall short of students’ needs.
The most frustrating aspect of Hamilton’s memorandum is having the accelerated programs presented, again, as a reliable way to decrease tuition costs. While 20 percent of NYU undergraduates graduate in less than four years, encouraging students to do so is not viable. College is supposed to be a transition out of teenage years and into adulthood, a necessary time to start and grow a career path. Now, each NYU school has at least one acceleration advisor, who advises students interested in graduating in less than four years. Instead of pushing students to jump without parachutes into adulthood, without even knowing if they want to do that or not, the Affordability Committee should focus on attainable measures to reduce tuition costs.
Professional Edge, another program introduced in the email, could be a promising measure, but sins profoundly. The aforementioned plan is targeted at undergraduate juniors and seniors, who now can take free one non-credit courses at the School of Professional Studies. Between internships, heavy course loads and extracurriculars, most NYU students do not have time to take non-credit courses, which makes Professional Edge distant from the reality most of the student body faces.
Apparently, the only helpful measure is the hiring of Follett Higher Education to run the NYU Bookstore. Follett is known for offering affordable textbooks to students. The contract is expected to save 15 to 70 percent on textbook costs, besides establishing a $100,000 annual scholarship for students and increasing the viability of buybacks.
Over the last few years, this publication has accused Hamilton of making big promises — such as improving affordability and diversity — without implementing policies that actually fulfill them. Unfortunately, it seems as though this announcement is just another example of this. If Hamilton truly wants to make NYU accessible to more people, he should work to lower tuition instead of focusing on obscure policies that will not really help anyone.
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