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University lifeboat springs a leak

“Stay in school, no one is hiring.”
This has been the mantra of the reluctant graduates and the excuse of lazy wanna-be career students since the recession started freezing entire career fields—such as education. The idea is that a person should stay in school as long as they can so that they can completely avoid the storm that is America’s economy. The university has functioned as a shelter against that storm.
Well, the shelter has a leak.
The University of Georgia Board of Regents has voted to increase the mandatory student fees for the second time in two years.         The students are being required to give up an additional $100 for attending a research university in 2010 bring it to a total of $200 in mandated fees for each semester a student attends VSU.
Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the furloughs and cross-the-board budget cuts, but it doesn’t make it more comforting to have seen fee increases coming. No one likes to hide under a leaking roof.
The press release by the Board of Regents said it had also passed a moratorium on student fee increases for 2011, but made room for an exception if the university needed extra money for student related building projects. It is kind of like handing the students a holey bucket to catch the rain pouring through the ceiling from the economic storm of the early century.
To increase the soaked joy of over-charged college students, the Board also voted to set a “sunset date” for summer of 2012, ironically meaning that daylight is at least three years away.
This does not mean that students should jump ship and seek safe shores, but it should be cause for some concern. The university as an institution has worked well enough keeping the students sheltered and dry while the torrential rains and gale force winds of the economic hurricane raged outside, but it couldn’t do so forever. And the longer the economic troubles continue, the harder it is going to get for universities and everyone committed to them.
One thing these increases should have students asking is whether or not staying in school to avoid that storm is really worth it anymore. The student fees are going up and that means that loans aren’t getting any smaller and economic crisis or not, debt is never easy to get away from. So rather than pretending that the shelter isn’t leaking or that the storm is blowing through the cracks, take a second look at the storm and decide it may be that jumping ship and looking for safer shores isn’t such a bad idea after all.

This editorial was written by Michael Wilson (mhwilson@valdosta.edu) and it expresses the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

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