posted on: Thursday February 25, 2010
Ben Perry ’10 / Commentary Staff
I saw a lot of tours this past week, especially last weekend. It was a long weekend and there were accepted student days or something like that. Whenever a group walked by I just wanted to shout “50 grand a year…go home! Get away while you still can!” I thought about it, and I realized how sneaky and underhanded the administration of this College is when it comes to these things. When I started here three and a half years ago, the cost of attendance was around $40,000 a year. It was an expensive school, but it wasn’t too extreme compared to some of the other schools I’d seen, and I got a nice scholarship to take the edge off.Then, every year, we suffered under an increase in tuition. We kind of expected it, but an eight percent increase? The best part was, the letter that explained the increase in tuition said that the justification for this increase was that Boston College was still more expensive. If I cared about Boston College, I would have gone there instead. Providence College is not a miniature, cheaper version of BC. Sorry. They’re Jesuits up there; this is a Dominican school. Let’s stop comparing the two of them.Anyway, it’s a moot point. More pressing is this new cost of living increase for next year. It will only affect the incoming class of freshmen, not those currently going to school. It’s a sort of “grandfather” clause. And why, you may ask? Because the administration is sneaky, sneaky, sneaky. If every freshman, sophomore, and junior found out that their tuition would be increasing by such a significant amount (15 percent is it?) they’d go nuts, bananas, bonkers! Now, we all can see how no one knows what to do with angry students on this campus. After all, it’s easier to just throw up a wall and never listen to what students have to say. I mean, they’re only the main source of income for the college. No big deal. Their opinions mean next to nothing.So now they’re being duplicitous. In the four years I’ve been paying to attend this school, my tuition has increased way more than 15 percent all told. They’ve done it in small increments, and there’s not much we can do about it. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. However, they’re taking it too far now. Sure, the students currently on campus aren’t getting hit with this increase, so they’re lulled into a false sense of security. No one is protesting this ridiculous extortion because no one feels threatened by it.Incoming students know what they’re getting into and current students aren’t imperiled.Don’t you see? They’re manipulating us. “Oh, the college respects us. They won’t make us pay more money. They know times are tough.” Bologna. Try this on for size: “Hah! Those students won’t even see what hit them.” If the administration really thought times were tough, they’d LOWER tuition. Sure, they need more money, but is raising tuition really going to get them more students? Oh, yeah, forgot to mention that. They’re going to accept more students in the incoming freshman class. And what is the money going to? It’s paying the million-dollar-a-year salary of a basketball coach who, by the way, is still losing, and it’s paying for a gigantic, empty, functionless greenhouse on the front of the Slavin Center.It’s not going toward things that actually matter in getting a good education. It’s going towards stroking the egos of the useless men (and women?) who are in charge of this school. Let’s bring in more students, each paying more money. Let’s make all the classes BIGGER why don’t we, because students don’t have enough difficulty registering for courses as it is. I came to this school because it was small and I could establish meaningful relationships with professors. I’m leaving it behind disillusioned by the way it’s being run and its poor emphasis on a real liberal arts education. There is no doubt in my mind that the focus of the administration is all wrong. Providence College isn’t interested in being a good school, only in appearing to be one. Good schools cost more money, so we raise tuition. Good schools are pretty, so we fix up the front of Harkins so students think it’s beautiful and leave the back looking like a rundown factory. Good schools are modern, so we attach an ugly entrance to Slavin that contrasts horribly with the aesthetics of the brick exterior.Good schools realize that the students are more than just exploitable resources. They are the patrons, providers, and reason the school exists. Employees of the school work for me; they work for everyone who pays to attend. Providence College, when it comes to that, fails to be a good school.