In a stunning and unprecedented move by the private institution, Boston University has announced it will be lowering tuition by 6.8 percent.
University President Robert Brown announced the decrease in an email disseminated to the entire student body. Brown attributed this drastic financial change-of-heart to the persistent uproar of the students on social media.
“This administration can no longer ignore [the students’] cacophony of Facebook posts and online petitions,” Brown wrote. “It has become clear to us through their occasional tweets and sarcastic Instagram posts that these students do not want to pay more for their education.”
Earlier this month, Brown had announced that tuition would be increasing 3.4 percent totaling $67,352 for tuition and fees in the 2017-2018 academic year. After witnessing the sheer outrage on social media pages like the BU Class of 2019 Facebook group, Brown said he knew something had to change.
“At first, I’ll admit, I was caught off guard,” Brown said, perched on his $8,000 Eames replica chair in his office. “I couldn’t figure out where this anger and resentment was coming from. No one had ever complained about tuition increases before. Or at least, not on a Facebook page that I could see.”
Brown said it was the Boston University Tuition Survey posted on the 2019 Facebook page by Jake Kersten on March 27th at 3:25 p.m. that really impacted his decision making.
“We just wanted our voices to be heard,” Kersten, SHA ’19 said of the survey. “I had an epiphany moment of being like ‘Hey, this is crazy and straight up unfair. I need to take action’ and then, I stopped online shopping during my econ class, and got to work on that survey.”
But while many students, like Kersten, were excited to hear about the decrease, others expressed concern.
“Sure the tuition hike wasn’t popular, but it made perfect sense,” Libby Topher, COM ’18, said of the announced change. “We have to pay our professors and building costs and make sure President Brown still has enough to insulate his beach home. I mean, we all made this decision by signing up to attend a private university. When I agreed to come to BU, I knew it would mean taking out so many loans I’ll probably never be able to pay for my own child’s education let alone afford a home to raise them in. That’s a decision I was proud to make.”
Topher said, if tuition keeps getting raised enough, some of that funding may work its way down to places where it’s crucially needed on campus.
“I learned about trickle down economics in my US History Since 1980s class and I think that would really apply here,” Topher said. “Of course I want my professors to earn more but the only way of making sure that happens is by paying the administrators at the top so much money that they physically cannot handle all of it and some of it just spills out of their hands and into the pockets of our adjuncts.”
The Quad reached out to the Adjunct Organization on campus for comment but they declined, saying the administration has locked them in a conference room until they promise to “undo their unionization.”
Though opinions on the tuition decrease are mixed, President Brown has announced he will move forward with the change effective next semester.
“I’m tired of being one of the highest paid university presidents in the country,” Brown said. “It’s time we let the students’ voices be heard.”
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