Tuition increases understandable, still hard to swallow

We understand that some things will never change.

The sun will always rise in the east and set in the west, Leap Year will come every four years, Brett Favre will never be ready to retire and college tuition will always increase.

We know these increases aren’t isolated to Simpson College. In fact, we’d likely be hard-pressed to find any school that isn’t raising their fees, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

We understand that tuition increases are just a fact of life and a harsh reality. Each year new funds are needed to support special projects, faculty salaries and miscellaneous expenses. And as much as extra costs hurt – the increase is actually smaller compared to other colleges.

Colleges around Iowa are experiencing the same crunches when it comes to money. For example, Wartburg College saw a 4.9 percent increase last year, which marked the 13th year in a row for tuition increases for the Knights.

School officials certainly deserve credit for trying to keep the increases minimal. Students attending state schools are facing a 6 percent increase.

Still, with a 4.25 percent increase, students will be facing comprehensive costs of more than $33,000.

That’s an intimidating number. Even with a 6 percent increase, schools like Iowa State and Iowa are still under $20,000. At what point will students decide that attending a school like Simpson is just too much? A liberal arts education is valuable, but for many students it’s going to appear unattainable.

Financial assistance is more important than ever. We know school officials work hard to keep a Simpson education affordable for students. With programs like the Iowa Tuition Grant being slashed and private loans harder to come by, scholarships and grants will be essential to attracting students to Simpson and keeping them here.