Baruch Academic Excellence Fee — Some Perspective
This graduate student greeted the announcement of the new academic excellence fee with little welcome. No one likes to learn that they will have to pay more for the same thing. Moreover, the timing, just weeks before the Bursar’s deadline, was a slap. However, with a little distance, let’s look calmly at the issue.
First thing first, the timing was terrible. No one is denying it. Apparently the administration couldn’t avoid it. Second, let’s face it: Baruch provides a top-notch education with very affordable tuition. Prices are bound to rise (and frankly they need to). We don’t have to like it, but costs are rising.
That bit of rationalization probably doesn’t make you feel any better. What we really need is a bogey man. Someone to beat up and blame for this mess. Well there is plenty of blame to go around. Let’s start with the mirror. Tell the truth now — did you send e-mails to your elected representatives earlier this year during budget time in Albany? Did your representatives know how important the incredibly low tuition was to you? We all got repeated reminders from CUNY to do so.
Next up, and a favorite whipping post, the pols in Albany. They set mandates for CUNY and importantly, send a huge amount of funding. The obvious problem is the amount of the funding. You’ve read the headlines. There is no more money and pols up and down the line are refusing to raise taxes. Second, the pols dictate how much tuition can rise. The new fee is an outgrowth of that reality. Baruch is hardly alone among state-funded schools across the country that find themselves between a fiscal rock and a hard reality. Extra fees are a common, albeit hardly welcome, route.
Your ire and wagging finger are now roaming over to the 13th floor at the NVC. Just remember, they are on our side and trying to build this institution (and thus your future earning power.) Certainly this episode could have been handled better. It’s time to move on, though. Let’s get past the ruffled feathers and get productive about how these funds will be used.
Don’t confuse this post with a get-out-of-jail-free card. There are honest and tough questions to explore. In cooperation with Frank Fletcher, Director of Graduate Programs, ZSB, we secured an interview with Dean Elliot. Baruch will make a video of this interview available through the Graduate Baruchian.
I’ve gathered questions from the student body. Please comment below or send your comments to me — in confidence if you like. The interview is scheduled for early next week. The video will be available shortly there after.