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Students call for action on recent tuition raise

first_imgApproximately 10 USC students gathered in front of Tommy Trojan Monday to protest the recent raise in tuition for next semester. Demonstrators held signs and repeatedly chanted the phrase, “Nikias step off it, put students over profit.”This protest is the latest in a series of events held in response to USC recently raising its tuition from $49,464 to $51,422, which raises the overall estimated cost of attendance to $69,711 for the 2016-2017 school year. Another rally protesting tuition hikes was held at Tommy Trojan on March 7 and a banner saying “Stop USC Tuition Hikes” was dropped in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center on Wednesday.Event organizer Nadja Barlera, a junior majoring in English, said that these protests are continuing because students feel that the administration hasn’t been listening to their voices. Barlera specifically pointed to the lack of university response to an Undergraduate Student Government resolution as well as a student-organized petition with more than 850 signatures that both called for a tuition freeze as one of the main reason for the recent protests.“The administration hasn’t really responded to any of our demands from the college freeze petition or resolution last semester,” Barlera said. “So we want to show them that we’re not going away and that we care about this issue.”The University, however, has stressed that it strives to keep yearly price increases low, and that rising costs and increased demand for student services make tuition hikes unavoidable. In a letter to USG and GSG on March 10, Vice President of Student Affairs Ainsley Carry wrote that the University publishes its financial data online well before tuition increases take effect, but that it also recognizes the need for increased transparency and student involvement.“In direct response to the resolutions presented by the USG and GSG, I will commit the Division of Student Affairs to work with them on a memorandum of understanding to reinstate the Student Fee Advisory Committee,” Carry wrote in the letter. “This MOU will articulate the purpose and roles for the committee and its members, including the review of proposed fee increases and the communication of any year-over-year increases in tuition and fees.”According to Barlera, the information for the rally was mainly spread Sunday night through a Facebook group called “Stop USC Tuition Hikes.” For this particular rally, Barlera said that the goal was mainly to notify students about the recent raises in tuition.“This was mostly to try and raise awareness,” Barlera said. “A lot of people who saw us didn’t even know that tuition had gone up because USC hasn’t really told anyone.”At the rally, students such as Preston Fregia, a freshman majoring in political science, spoke about the potential long-lasting implications of continued tuition hikes and how this topic could be something that students can band together over.“This will affect us, your grandchildren, and everyone in this area,” Fregia said. “This is an issue that we can all have the same opinion on.”While students have already taken action by delivering letters into the administration, Barlera said that students are going to continue protesting until they elicit a formal response from the administration.“If the University continues to ignore us, we’re definitely going to do more,” Barlera said.last_img read more