By Chris Acree–
When my family first began preparing to go to college a long time ago, my father was asked by other parents for advice on how to adequately prepare.
The first thing he’d always answer with was, “Don’t bother saving any money at all, because no matter how much you save it will never be enough to get your kid to college.”
At the time he may have been exaggerating a tad, but here in recent years his advice is starting to hit home harder than ever.
For college students, tuition hikes have become an immutable law of the universe – as constant and unyielding as taxes and petulant UK fans. Tuition is harder for many students and families to gin up, and now at least for U of L students, it might be harder pay for tuition and actively participate in a collegiate marketplace.
The Cardinal recently reported U of L was blocking College Abacus, a nonprofit website that allows potential students to compare the net prices of multiple colleges at once. Patrons attempting to gain information on the university are redirected to a New York Times article about the controversy.
The reasons behind this obstruction are unclear. Other schools who have blocked College Abacus have cited concerns over the potential selling of information and competition with universities’ own tuition calculator services, which have been federally mandated since 2011. As The Cardinal recently reported, the university’s Financial Aid Office isn’t even sure on the matter. On the other hand, one thing that is certain is prospective college students and their families are going to find it that much harder to effectively choose colleges due to this recent blockage of information.
It seems like tuition prices have just become numbers universities come up with off the top of their heads, and have little to no correlation with inflation or individual financial situations.
Even after filling out a FAFSA and scholarship applications, the odds of receiving beneficial tuition aid seem slimmer than ever.
Even after their tuition is paid, there are other fees associated with tuition as well. Most of these fees are frustratingly involuntary charges associated with the university. You’re familiar with these fees just as much as the next student: room and board, parking passes, meal plans, online class fees. This goes without mentioning the bane of all collegiate existence—textbooks.
“I’m still surprised how expensive books are,” said Sarah Herde, a sophomore biology major. “I know I need to work an extra couple of hours a month just to afford books. I’m also currently living at home because there’s no way I could afford to live in a dorm.”
All of these aforementioned factors are what makes resources such as College Abacus such a critical tool for college students. Students need as much information as possible to make the best decisions throughout their collegiate experience, and all blocking a site like College Abacus does is limit the ability for college students to do such a thing.
As long as things like this continue to happen, I might actually have to start listening to my father. Who wants that?