On October 5, 2011, Dean Hinkson of Barnard College, emailed all Barnard students to inform them that effective Fall 2012, all students must pay full-time fees, regardless of whether they are full-time students:
In keeping with Barnard's commitment to the highest academic standards, effective fall 2012, students will be required to pay full-time fees for 8 semesters if they were admitted as a first-year, 6 semesters if admitted as a sophomore, and 4 semesters if admitted as a junior. Of course, you can still opt to graduate in fewer semesters as long as all requirements have been fulfilled. We understand that it has been a practice, though not a policy, for students who opted to take less than 12 credits in their final semester to pay part-time fees for that semester. As of next fall, this will no longer be permitted. We recognize that this new policy will require some of you to alter your program plans, and your academic advisers and Class Deans are available to assist you.
Barnard has always been a four-year college with a strong commitment to community and, as such, we believe that it is in the academic interest of all of our students to spread required credits over the total number of enrolled semesters. Our staffing and financial plans are developed based on full-time enrollment projections. A practice of students opting to become part-time students means that our resources are not being used at the optimal level. We are making this change in order to be financially responsible and, most importantly, to continue to be able to provide you with the best possible education.
Lines such as "In keeping with Barnard's commitment to the highest academic standards" and "Barnard has always been a four-year college with a strong commitment to community" seem to imply that this added cost is meant to teach or create a better social atmosphere, but this is obviously not the point. In addition to tuition, room, board, insurance, books and other various fees that they already pay, students may also have to pay for class credits they are not taking and do not need.
We enrolled in Barnard under the premise that we could study part-time and pay accordingly. Women choose to attend Barnard for it's stellar academics, and also for the opportunities available in the city. Now, financially strained students who sought to acquire internships or part-time jobs their Senior or Junior years face difficulties in doing so. Furthermore, Dean Hinkson sprung this policy upon the students without warning and one month into the school year-- well after the registration deadline had passed, and well after the deadline for Senior Seminars had passed, leaving students blindsided. Many now have to pay late registration fees to change their schedules in order to graduate early, because plans of part-time enrollment are no longer possible. Many who would have elected to graduate early, given the new financial circumstances at hand, have no option now except to pay for classes they won't take.
Although this email insisted this new policy's goal is to foster a four-year college atmosphere, it's not hard to figure out that this school needs funds. But how is a policy which makes part-time tuition unaffordable for current students justifiable when all other options have clearly not been explored? This is greed.
What Barnard is doing is unethical and dishonest: this policy directly affects those who have been attending this school under pretenses of affordable part-time tuition.
Instead of forcing those women already paying hand over fist for their educations, why not tap the alumnae network? Smith, another one of the Seven Sisters, has a 37% donation rate. Mount Holyoke, yet another, has 46%. Bryn Mawr: 43%. Vassar, 36%. Wellesley a whopping 50%. There are other ways of obtaining funds than charging those already paying to go to the 10th most expensive school in the nation (excluding the cost of living in New York City).
However, we know there is a low alumnae donation rate for Barnard. Perhaps the reason behind this is dissatisfaction with this kind of questionable administrative conduct.
This policy isn't the only way to get more funding, and students shouldn't have to pay for classes that they are not taking. Please sign the petition.
A breakdown of costs for the current academic year can be found at http://barnard.edu/bursar/tuition-and-fees/2011-12.
Information on donation rates:http://www.insidecollege.com/reno/Percentage-of-Alumni-Who-Donate/280/list.do
Barnard was ranked the 10th most expensive school last year:http://moneywatch.bnet.com/spending/blog/college-solution/25-most-expensive-colleges-in-america/3496/
2011-12 Tuition and Fees | Barnard Collegebarnard.eduComprehensive Fee:(Includes Student Health Service Charges, Class Fee, Computer Fee, Student Government Charges, and access to the facilities at the Dodge Physical Fitness Center and Lerner Hall at Columbia University.)