Letter for Tuition Freeze
Joint Statement Petitioning Spec for Publication of Tuition Freeze Letter
To the Editors of the Columbia Daily Spectator,
The General Studies Student Council (GSSC), in coalition with the Columbia College Student Council (CCSC), the Engineering Student Council (ESC), and the Student Government Association of Barnard College (SGA) are formally calling upon the Columbia Daily Spectator (hereinafter, “Spec”) to disseminate information regarding current efforts for a tuition freeze to our Columbia community. We specifically ask Spec to publish the Tuition Freeze Resolution that was previously circulated by the 2019-2020 councils in early May.
We believe publishing this resolution would be immensely beneficial to the student body for purposes of remaining informed and engaged, and may also aid in our efforts to avert a rise in tuition fees in the midst of a global pandemic.
We were informed that Spec would solely focus on Covid-19 related topics for the foreseeable future, and for these reasons, the resolution was not previously published.
We argue that in reality, advocacy efforts for a tuition freeze are related to Covid-19. As the resolution states:
- 18% of students across Columbia College and the Fu School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and 14% of students at Barnard College are currently Pell Grant recipients, a key indicator of financial insecurity. At the School of General Studies, that number is closer to 40%.
- The University has been offered, and not yet turned down, $12.8 million in federal aid to help relieve the financial burden brought by COVID-19. This amount was among the highest offered to an Ivy League due to the number of Columbia students receiving federal grants.
- Since 2009, tuition at the University has increased over 55%, making Columbia’s current tuition fees the most expensive of any university in the United States.
- Recent estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reflected a 13.3 percent national unemployment rate as of June 5th, 2020.
These issues Barnard and Columbia students face are exacerbated by Covid-19. A tuition raise will only compound these tribulations. For these reasons, we appeal to the Editors of Spec to circulate the resolution so students may remain informed throughout this advocacy process. Moreover, reflecting upon the importance of a free and open student press in inspiring institutional change throughout our University’s history, we respectfully ask that the Spec reconsider their stance on not publishing and decimating information on current student-led movements.
General Studies Student Council
Student Government Association
Columbia College Student Council
Engineering Student Council