10.i.10: Can It Lower Tuition?
During election season, many policy initiatives and promises are more often than not left unfulfilled, leaving broken hearts strewn across the floor like a poorly managed transplant center. One of the first for this season is from the Adewumi camp with their 10.i.10 tuition plan proposal, which hopes to lower tuition to $10,000 in the next 10 years.
The policy is essentially an aggressive overhaul of tuition funding for the university, including a student-run budget auditing board, mobilizing tens of thousands of students across the state to lobby for state universities, and creating a $100 million tuition fund.
- The fund would consist of a combination of state appropriations, charitable donations, and budget adjustments.
- Appropriations are going to decrease by 10% over the next year, so students must lobby the state legislature directly and demand change.
- The auditing board would open up transparent lines of communication between the student body and the administration with regards to the budget.
The initiative is based off of three points: that Penn State is the most expensive state-related university in the country, that we have seen a 200% increase in in-state tuition in the last 20 years, and that the average student graduates with $23,000 in debt.
Some from the Ragland-Smith campaign say that Adewumi’s tuition plan is impossible, stating that students would only mobilize in significant if there was a large-scale increase in tuition, like the thousands of dollars in tuition increases it took for students in California to go ballistic. Another criticism argues that, while a tuition fund is a good idea, it already exists in various capacities. Creating another one would take funding away from the others, which fund scholarships and capital improvements. A student auditing board might look good on paper, but the university is very private about the exact budget and would not take too kindly to hands-on student oversight.
Rough estimates show that to lower tuition to $10,000, there would be approximately $340 million needed to be made up for somewhere else in the budget. That would mean that the level of state appropriations, which is $330 million, would have to increase by 100% in order to make up for a $10,000 tuition. It also remains to be seen if this tuition decrease in Adewumi’s plan only targets in-state students, leaving out-of-state students out of the loop.
The 10.i.10 is an ambitious plan indeed, but will it work?