To the Board of Trustees at Southwestern University:
As a member of the honorable Southwestern community, I am beyond disappointed in the letter that I received in the mail this week. The letter reads: “For the 2021-2022 academic year, the Board of has approved a 3.4% increase in tuition, room, and board.” As a student who requested financial aid from both Southwestern and Federal funding, know that a sudden increase in tuition puts my single-parent household under extreme distress.
I know that I am not only speaking for myself, but when students are looking for a collegiate institution to further their education, the cost of attendance is a deciding factor of where they ultimately chose to commit their attendance. Suddenly spiking the price of attendance and room and board, is unethical and inconsiderate of families like my own. In your words we are facing the uncertainty of the “jolt of a global pandemic [and] an economic downturn...” If it is true that you are aware of the financial uncertainty that is partly brought by COVID-19, how can you so ruthlessly raise the cost of attendance for your students?
The effects of a decision made without consulting your student population, especially lower-income students, are causing many of us to reconsider our attendance at Southwestern. When I heard that Southwestern is now considered a Hispanic Serving Institution, I was honored and humbled. For me, it meant that Southwestern made their greatest effort to include my community. However, that title comes with great responsibility. The majority of your Hispanic population receives financial aid. Nevertheless, you ignore that fact and decide to increase the cost of attendance. With this decision, you disproportionately affect my community’s ability to receive a higher education. You halted our journey and with this decision, shifted the trajectory of our careers. Although I am speaking on behalf of myself, I know that other racial minorities and students of lower income share similar feelings of frustration and disappointment.
I demand that the Board of Trustees do what is just and keep their tuition and room and board costs the same as the 2020-2021 academic year. Not only that, Southwestern must increase their financial support to their students. I trust that you hold value in community, family, and dignity as I was told when I committed to Southwestern University. Do what it just and your student body will support you, but we will not back unjust decisions.