Editorial: Rutgers experience worsens as U. exploits
Students must voice grievances with education experience offered
We sit idle and dormant, accepting the reality of life at Rutgers as beyond our influence. But, discontent grows with increasing exploitation.
The first week of the semester has begun, syllabi have been circulated and tuition costs and student debt have increased. Even so, we still settle into our desks, settle into our over-crammed buses and settle into the "RU-screw" as all inconveniences and costs are accepted as unavoidable impingements on our lives and education. The first week of the semester has begun and the student body must not slip into an accepting slumber.
Over the summer, the Rutgers Board of Governors approved a 2.9% increase in undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 academic year, a tuition hike exceeding the average annual increase. Disregarding the debt crisis in America, Rutgers graciously agreed to contribute to the financial insecurity of families and support the inflating debt bubble posed to burst by increasing the cost of attendance.
An estimated 45 million people in the U.S. live under the hard-pressed thumb of an “educational debt totaling roughly $1.5 trillion — more than what Americans owe on their credit cards and auto loans combined,” according to Hua Hsa, author of "Student Debt is Transforming the American Family."
Discussions of student debt are now commonplace dinner-table talk in America. In her work “Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost,” anthropologist Caitlin Zaloom explored how family dynamics have shifted in reaction to student debt.
A sad revelation in her work is that, “from a military family in Florida to a dual-Ph.D. household in Michigan,” what unites them all is their “children are part of a generation where debt — the financial and psychological state of being indebted — will shadow them for much of their adult lives.”
We are unified in our debt, unified in the costs we incur, and yet, we are not unified in changing this darkening reality.
For the second consecutive year, the first-year class is the “largest class.” This historic incoming class also boasts the largest percentage of international students ever. An incredible addition to the diversity and experience at Rutgers, but this also suggests that the new class will provide the University with its largest tuition revenue since international students are required to pay their full tuition from the start of enrollment.
More students are bringing in more tuition payments for the profit margin of Rutgers — yet there have been no apparent resources added to compensate for this increasing attendance.
On Aug. 21, The Daily Targum confirmed and posted on social media that there were 51 incoming first-years set to live in temporary housing in a few residence hall lounges, with more than 150 students on a housing waiting list at the time. There are currently students at Rutgers paying to temporarily live in lounges, uncertain as to the longevity of their unusual accommodations.
This is not normal. Do not overlook the experience of these Rutgers brothers and sisters.
With rising attendance, also ask any student tasked with navigating from campus to campus about their experience. They will let you know of the discomfort and difficulties involved in the daunting task, but they will also say that they have not organized to change this.
If you are angry, if you have been made to feel unappreciated by the institution you pay, reach out to Rutgers officials with your grievances and contact the Targum about your experiences attempting to adapt to the University’s bus system.
Tuition is increasing, attendance is rising, and what of the available resources?
We ask that Rutgers makes it clear how the tuition increases have truly bettered our education and improved our experience. We ask that our University shows us that they have improved our access to resources to match the increased strain on these resources. We hope students join us in our requests.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 151st editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.