Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Tuition War Escalates





Oooooooh shiiiittttt
. They dropped the big one. If you only want the main details, skip straight to the bottom of this post.

The newest chapter in this summer's/recession's ongoing tuition development is titled "175 Million Witheld from Temple's Budget," or perhaps "Tuition may Increase $5,000."

This is what happened
: Temple University Health Systems (yes, owned by Temple but has its own President and CEO and all that) decided to close Northeastern Hospital located in Port Richmond. The hospital, due to its location in not-so-beautiful Philadelphia, was losing money big time, apparently to the tune of $15 mil a year. So they decided to close it.

The dispute occurred when a group of state reps, led by state rep. John Taylor, fought to keep the hospital open as they felt it ripped a big hole in the local community in which their constituents reside. Not only that, but they said that they feel Temple officials acted arrogantly, ignoring their appeals to sit down and discuss the whole thing over a cup of joe.

So, like an angry parent cutting their child's allowance, these reps tabled Temple's annual appropriation, $175,000,000, while passing Penn State and Pitt's appropriations through to the third and final round, where it will do battle with a final boss, reportedly Dr. Robotnik or possibly King Bowser.

So to answer some FAQs:

1. No, the money isn't officially gone yet, although if that money is still unappropriated when state budget time comes around it is likely to get snatched up.

2. Yes, this is a giant pissing match among adults that is screwing all of us "hard-partying, lazy, rude, ungrateful" kids.

3. Yes, it would be nice if we could cut Temple's budget by $175,000,000 when we get stonewalled transferring credits in, going to see advisers, or using meals when, ya know, we're hungry.

4. But still, if the state actually leaves Temple out in the cold, we will effectively become a private institution. And that would suck.

5. But dude, didn't Temple already like, promise not to increase tuition? Not really, that's kind of misleading thing. Temple set a low tuition increase of 2.9 %. Then the state was going to slash about 30 mil, and Temple reconvened and then said that they were sticking to the 2.9% BUT RESERVED THE RIGHT TO RAISE IT IF THE STATE CUT FUNDS. Considering the state was only talking about 30 mil then, and is now talking about the full 170 mil, that would certainly raise tuition.

But Cherry and What?, how much do I stand to lose? Well official numbers haven't been released, and the e-mail from Temple is also a little misleading. The numbers being thrown around are a 45% tuition increase, or $5,000. That's $5,000 a year, not a semester. So if you're an in-state student paying roughly $6,000 a semester, you would now pay $8,500. Same goes for out-of-state or out-of-country (33,000 students, paying 5,000 more a year= $165,000,000)

So what now?

Well hopefully both sides act like adults, which would mean Temple officials agreeing to have public and transparent meetings with the state reps, and the state reps passing Temple's bill to the final stages so the money couldn't be touched, to be ultimately passed when a satisfactory end is met.

What can you do?

Well TSG and others have hopped all over this mess so you have plenty of options. The following is lifted from a message from TSG VP Jon Desantis, and has instructions and a letter to contact your state reps. Yes, I did it, and it really only took 3 minutes.


"This proposal is very time sensitive and is schedule to voted upon tomorrow. We are asking EVERY TEMPLES STUDENT who is a PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENT to email their state representative tonight or tomorrow morning in opposition to this proposal.

How do you do this?

  1. Go to http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp to determine your complete (9 digit) zip code (i.e. 19121-1203
  2. Go to http://www.house.state.pa.us/ and in the upper right hand corner, input your 9 digit zip code. This will tell you who your state representative is
  3. Click on your STATE REPRESENTATIVE'S name (not state senator)
  4. Scroll down the page until you see a link saying, in some fashion, "Click here to email/contact member"
  5. Fill out the required address information USING OUR HOME ADDRESS (not school address.)
  6. In the field that says message, concern, or some variety of that, copy and paste the below message.
  7. Click submit or send.



  8. I am writing to you to express extreme concern about the state's appropriation to Temple University. As a Temple student, I depend on Temple for providing both an excellent and affordable education. If the state appropriation was removed in its entirety, tuition would increase 45% or nearly $5,000 for a Pennsylvania residents. Not only will this adversely affect students now, but it will saddle graduates with increased debt for years to come.

    Our Board of Trustees, in light of the difficult economic climate, approved a record low tuition increase of 2.9% and dedicated an additional $7 million to student financial aid. Due to these actions, millions of dollars in the University's operating budget have been slashed in favor of supporting students' ability to attend.

    Please support Pennsylvania's appropriation to Temple as it truly makes a tremendous difference in my life."


Temple's website is also providing a similar style letter writing tool, found here.

Finally, there is a march from the SAC to Rep. Taylor's office tomorrow at 2, which can be found here.


OVERVIEW

+ Pissing match between state rep John Taylor and his gang, and Temple University Health Systems(Temple) over closing of Northeastern hospital.
+ Rep used his best punch, tabling Temple's 175 mil annual allocation, while PSU and Pitt's passed through to the next round.
+Money isn't gone yet but might not hang around for long.
+If this happens, your SEMESTER tuition goes up $2,500, totaling $5,000 a year (33,000 students x $5,000= $165,000,000) and Temple is pretty much a private institution.
+ What to do: A) Piss and moan, B) Cry C) Use TSG's and Temple's letter writing tools D) March to state rep's office today E) Transfer(dropout) F) Both A,B, and E. G) Both C and D

Answer G is the correct answer.

Check back to the C&W for developments.

2 comments:

Aimz said...

I'm glad they were able to hold back this increase to only 2%, and that I will be graduating before it can increase - or threaten to increase - again.

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