College can be pretty fucking expensive. 

One of the most daunting decisions faced by those who are choosing where to go to college is often finance-related. Among the sea of student loans and grants, it's difficult to make a choice on where to go, and often the decision boils down to where tuition is less expensive.

A petition on PawPrints that has received over 440 signatures calls for administration to enact “Tiger Tuition.” The petition, drafted by student Talon Rood, advocates for a flat rate of tuition, much like SUNY Oswego’s “Oswego Guarantee,” which ensures that costs for food and housing remain constant over the course of the student’s program.

The petition has recently made its way through Student Government (SG), where the Student Affairs Committee typically sends the petition to the appropriate parties within administration. SG President Ashley Carrington gave insight on the process SG uses to forward petitions to administration. “Immediately once a petition has reached 200 signatures ,it is emailed out to myself, the vice president [and] some of the people on our web committee.”

After the petitions have been brought to SG's attention, they are categorized and sent to their attributed committees. After the committees work through the petition and create charges, the petitions are sent to responsible parties within administration.

Despite the recent calls for lower tuition rates, both Carrington and administration argue that RIT’s tuition rates are very competitive for a private institution. In fact, they argue that the rates are below the national average for private institutions.

“Students come to RIT for the simple reason that they can afford it,” Carrington commented. “I’ve met many students who have been accepted to Harvard and MIT … but they chose to turn them down and come to RIT, because financially it just made more sense.”

Carrington also recognizes the tradeoff with rising tuition, saying that the talent pool RIT draws in could decrease with the rise in tuition. “Every time we increase our tuition, we’re taking [greatness] away, and we’re also subtracting the level of talent that we can get.”

Dr. James Watters, senior vice president of Finance and Administration and Treasurer, reinforced the importance of having affordable tuition rates during the Institute Council meeting on Feb. 18. Watters believes that although tuition has increased, many of the auxiliaries that bring in revenue for the Institution will keep tuition from increasing even further. “All of these auxiliaries are tagged with the responsibility of contributing back to the university and its operating budget … and provide relief as far as how much more tuition you’d have to raise in order to finance the place,” Watters commented.

Watters also drew attention to the effort administration has made to adjust financial aid to the current economic situation, “They [the middle class] are still well below 2008 levels in terms of median income, so that’s reflected in the way we put financial aid together.”

Carrington urges students to remember that there are more factors that go into these kinds of decisions. “When it comes to money, it can be difficult to find a nice balance. That’s one of the methods we’re going [to use] to approach the discussion … we’re going to see what we can do as a way of saving dollars from a university standpoint.”

Carrington also reinforces the idea that the administration does everything with their students in mind and truly wants to help them succeed. “As a whole, RIT administration does want to help students … The university has a lot of agenda points, and the way that we try and take it to them [matters] … any little thing helps. ”