University of Tampa Students Weigh In On Tuition Increase

By Brandon Leonard

On March 25, an email describing a tuition increase for the Fall 2022 semester was sent out by President Vaughn’s office. 

The email lists out some changes to The University of Tampa, primarily its staff and the landscape, but the one that seems to have caught everyone’s attention is the tuition increase by 3.06% and 3% for graduate and undergraduate students respectively.   

The email doesn’t give an explicit reason for the increase, but it does provide implications for the aforementioned changes behind the extra cost of attending and living at UT.        

“Every year, UT budgets carefully to consider expenses the university must incur each year, including increases in personnel costs and operating expenses, such as information technology/software upgrades, increased health and property insurance premiums, as well as utility costs increases,” said Eric Cardenas, director of public information and publications at UT. “ Beyond these required items, the University always strives to hire the best faculty to support student learning and to fund initiatives that enhance student support and engagement. This year, we are hiring for 16 new faculty and instructional staff positions plus several additional staff support positions.”

Reactions to the tuition raise have been mixed among the students, especially when provided the reasons behind the change. 

“This school is already insanely expensive and it doesn’t seem like the equivalent effort of the pricing is being put into the worth of being here for the students,” said Hannah Sam, senior film and media arts major. “They’re raising prices and kicking kids off-campus with housing and it just seems very money-based and incentivized over student priority.”

Rising housing prices in Tampa seem to be playing a role in students’ unhappiness with the tuition increase.

“There is already insufficient housing, and rent prices in Tampa are astronomically high,” said Myles Harris, senior history major. “I don’t come from a wealthy family like most UT students, so I have to take out loans in order to keep going to school; it’s people like me who are suffering from it.”             

“I was surprised and aggravated to see that the tuition had increased yet another 3%.” said Senior cybersecurity major Moira Pessagno. “Although 3% may not seem like a lot, but when you’re talking about thousands of dollars, it sure does add up and can make all of the difference.”

Many students generally agreed that the cost was, however, somewhat worth the benefits. Although students did express some level of skepticism regarding all of the recent additions, primarily surrounding the construction projects such as the new bell tower and expansion of the recreation facility.      

“Hiring new staff is the only worthy justification [that was] mentioned,” said Harris. “Some courses don’t even get off the ground because there just isn’t enough staff to run them.” 

For some students, the need for more faculty members still doesn’t outweigh the unhappiness regarding the cost of upgrades and new facilities.    

“I get that the [upgrades] in facilities create a needed influx of money, but there’s also the question of what facilities are being built and needed,” said Sam. “Maybe I’d agree with it more if things like more residence halls or parking were being incorporated to help create ease throughout the campus for students and faculty.”

Ultimately, the tuition increase may be considered something of a necessary drawback in the benefits provided by extra staff, new facilities, and other minor upgrades that make being a UT student worthwhile. 

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