Students reflect on rising cost of college, what tuition prices mean for presidential election
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 2012 23:10
With the election season in its final stretch, president Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are scrambling to visit colleges to secure the youth vote.
To college-aged students, perhaps one of the most relevant issues this election is how each candidate plans to tackle rising college costs. Tuition at the University of Connecticut is expected to rise 6 percent for each of the next four years, due largely to faculty expansion plans.
Though college costs may seems to be a pertinent issue to UConn students, there are others who think there are others more important. 1st-semester political science major Brendan Costello said that while he is eager to vote in the coming election, the price of college isn’t terribly important to him: “It’s a factor, but not a deciding factor. I’m not going to vote for someone based on their college [plan].”
Not every student feels the same as Costello. Lauren Harrison, a 1st-semester physiology and neurobiology major, considers college costs to be part of a much larger issue: the economy. She described college debt as “one of the biggest issues in society,” noting that “large debt puts you behind,” making it harder for grads to compete both domestically and internationally. By fixing issues with education, Harrison said, “[you] benefit the economy as a whole.”
Jordan Bellucci, a 1st-semester biomedical engineering major, says that as an out-of-state student, costs are already high. “I already have loans,” he said. Any change in cost is significant to him. Mathematically, a 6 percent increase in out-of-state tuition is more significant than for in-state. UConn, as a public university, is less expensive than most, private institutions (which averaged $38,589 for tuition, room, and board in 2011).
In the 2008 election, President Obama did significantly better than John McCain among college-aged students, and with 2012 seeing significant youth voter registration, the question remains whether or not Mr. Obama continues to be popular with students. UConn clubs such as CONNPIRG and SUBOG, among others, teamed up recently in the UConn Votes registration drive. By setting up registration tables right within residence and dining halls, it was easier than ever for students to prepare to vote; many students who had already registered in their home towns decided to register in Storrs rather than send out absentee ballots.