Tuition skyrockets nationwide

As college costs rise faster than inflation and the SUNY system faces extreme budget cuts, Geneseo students could be facing an increase in tuition.

According to a report by The Chronicle of Higher Education, college costs have outpaced inflation over the past year, with national fees and tuition rising an average of 4.5 to 6.5 percent, while the Consumer Price Index reports an increase of 5.6 percent.

Given the current economic crisis in the country and the proposed budget cuts to the SUNY system, this could be problematic for Geneseo students. According to Archie Cureton, director of financial aid, Geneseo has not yet seen the same rise in tuition that many other schools have.

"Last year our tuition and fees amounted to $5,616," he said. "This year it's risen to $5,658, so it hasn't been a huge increase."

Cureton also said the school has seen a rise in the number of students filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid in the past year.

A tuition increase is likely on the way. Tuesday, Albany's Times Union reported that more than two-dozen SUNY campus presidents called for raising the undergraduate tuition by $1,090 from its current level of $4,350. Additionally they called for half of that increase to take place in the spring of 2009. These calls came after Gov. Patterson said that the SUNY budget would face huge budget cuts.

The rise in college tuitions is a trend seen around the nation. On average, the cost of a public four-year college rose 6.4 percent for in-state tuition and 5.2 percent for out-of-state students. According to the Times Union report, some schools have already announced mid-year tuition hikes.

Cureton said he doubts Geneseo will follow that trend. "There will be something but I doubt it will be a mid-year hike," he said.

The possibility of tuition hikes along with rising costs has some students worried.

"I think it's the right thing to do with all the budget cuts," said junior Erik Larson. "If it helps the school cover its budget deficit it's the right decision in my mind."

Freshman Jake Hurley also expressed concern. "I know that I have a lower loan amount under FAFSA guidelines so if tuition goes up, I don't know if those federal loans will cover me," he said.

"I understand the need for some tuition hike but it isn't something I'm happy about," said senior Kelley Rehkugler. "I pay for a lot of my own school so it's a bigger burden on me when I graduate."