By Karis Fuller
Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor
Before spring break, students were notified of a change in the tuition plan. As of fall 2018, students taking over 18 credits will be charged an additional $1000 per credit. Before this change, a single tuition rate was set for all full-time students, whether they were taking 15 or 27 credits a semester. The change in tuition plan followed the hike in tuition by $750 a semester for the fall 2017 semester.
Lori Knapp, LIU Post’s vice president for academic affairs, said that the tuition change was academically driven. As the Pioneer reported in its March 21 issue, “Long Island University is driven to support students and align practices to ensure on-time graduation while encouraging students to make the most of their experience,” Knapp said.
Many students and staff members, however, have expressed concerns about the announced change. Freshman math ematics and philosophy major Samuel McCrosson is upset. McCrosson is a straight A student, taking senior seminars that challenge him, with the intention of graduating in two years. “I didn’t get an email, McCrosson said. “I heard at dinner through a group of musical [theater] students,” As a result of the tuition change, McCrosson said that he is transferring to a different school. He said he is one of a number of students looking to transfer. Although university officials have said that this excess fee will deter students from taking more credits than they can handle, McCrosson disagrees. “Yes, there are students that are overwhelmed by taking too many credits, and they should be dealt with on an individual case,” he said. “I think they are stifling students’ ambition to make money,” meaning the university is prioritizing the money that can be made, over the education and well-being of students.
Junior health science major with a triple minor in chemistry, forensic chemistry and nutrition, Caitlin Johnstone came to Post in Jan. 2016 as a mid year student, and as a result has faced a number of issues regarding her academic schedule. She is “disappointed” that she “may have to drop two of my minors” that she is close to completing. “Those classes would push me above 18 credits, and in an attempt to avoid the fee, I would have wasted my time taking difficult classes, for no reason,” Johnstone said. In addition to students in the School of Health Sciences and Nursing, musical theatre majors have also expressed concerns.
Chair of the Philosophy department, Dr. Glenn Magee said that the academic departments and professors had little input into the decision. “Department chairs at universities are not normally consulted in matters related to tuition,” Magee said. “In this case, however, I wish we had been, as we could have indicated some of the negative, unintended consequences of this policy,” he added. “Students who cannot afford the fee, and whose timetable for graduation requires them to take extra classes will very likely consider transferring to other universities,” he said. “So, yes, it’s likely that we will lose students, including very good students like McCrosson.”
The success coaches and staff in the office of campus life can advise students on their individual situations. Sara Panarelli, the director of LIU Promise, did not respond to the Pioneer’s inquiries about the tuition change.
Willie Hiatt, associate professor of Latin American history, said that students are telling faculty that they are upset over a tuition policy that will increase the cost of their education and limit their academic options. “Students should make these concerns known, and the administration should listen and respond. Simply blaming students for supposedly misunderstanding the policy is unfair to those who want to have a voice and a role in shaping their education,” Hiatt said.
Due to the confusion at this time, students have taken it into their own hands to seek answers, and make a change. Sophomore music education and voice major, Deborah Agopian speaks on behalf of the peti tion titled, “LIU Post 18 Credit Initiative Negation Petition.” As of March 26, the petition had 731 signatures in support of adapting this policy. The petition came about when Agopian found out she was affected by this change through the promise office. “I found out via my promise coach sending her caseload an email, however, she was the only one to do so and the rest of the student body found out by word of mouth,” Agopian said.
Agopian’s goal for this petition is to make the administration question their policy change. “Ultimately, I am hoping that this new policy will be revoked. However, I am aware that other universities have [this policy]. So, I would hope that President Cline would be willing to come up with a compromise,” she said. “I would at least ask that current students be grandfathered from the new policy and it be a new policy that they make very clear to the incoming freshman. I would also suggest that if they are insistent on imposing a charge after 18 credits, that it be a at fee.
The sudden change has led some students to question the morals of the university. “I want to know at what point the money I give to this institution became more important than the education they provide me with,” Johnstone said. Agopian urges students to speak up in light of this policy change. “Students can get involved by signing and sharing the petition to everyone they possibly can because every signature counts,” she said. Agopian encourages students to also comment their personal experience in the comment section of the petition and to email President Cline, VPAA Lori Knapp, Dean of Students Michael Berthel and Director of Public Relations Jon Schneider.