The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Board of Trustees to vote on proposed tuition increase

Photo: Indigo Baloch

On Friday, February 14, The Chatham University Board of Trustees will vote on whether or not to enact a proposed university-wide tuition increase of between one and three percent.

This comes, as Dean Zauyah Waite explained, in response to a nationwide trend among small liberal arts universities.  She further emphasized the fact that the cost of living is constantly increasing, and that, unlike public schools, Chatham is a “tuition driven institution.”

According to Dean Waite, Chatham’s tuition, even with the increase, will be comparable to other similar institutions in the Pittsburgh area. “We’re no different from any other institution with the same issues,” she said, and “smaller enrollment means that, to make it, you have to ask for more from the individual.”

In response to this, the Chatham Student Government (CSG)–whose official stance on the subject is in opposition to any increases in tuition–met on February 6, to discuss plans to take action on behalf of the student body against this proposed increase.

While nothing has yet been voted on, these plans tentatively include sending a letter, drafted by the executive board of the CSG, to the members of the Board of Trustees. This letter will explain the financial difficulties that students are already facing, which CSG feels are valid concerns that need to be addressed, even in light of administration’s counter argument referencing the extensive scholarships that are awarded yearly. As Claire Swauger, mentioned, “the next bubble in our economy is expected to be student loans.” This supported her point that an increase in tuition is, at this time, neither realistic nor ethical.

The CSG also released a statement saying that they will be “assembling a petition with signatures from the Chatham College for Women students in opposition to the potential tuition increases.” This petition will be presented to the Board of Trustees by way of President Esther Barazzone, whom representatives of the Student Government will meet with to discuss the issue at hand.

Additionally, an ad hoc committee, chaired by Caiden Fratangelo, was created to look into other methods of addressing the upcoming vote.

Further ideas on the subject included presenting the board with hard facts on the issue, by talking to admissions, talking to alumni, and looking into the adverse impact of increasing tuition in other schools in similar situations. Things like a decrease in retention rate and future enrollment, as a result of the tuition increase, were on the forefront of the Senate members’ minds.

Ideas about re-analyzing the school’s budget to find other sources of money were also mentioned, and will be passed on to President Barazzone and the Board.

The difficulty with this course of action, however, lies in finding the information necessary to make a case. When it comes to hard facts and statistics, the CSG is essentially in the dark regarding the specifics of the situation. With relatively little access to any pertinent information about the tuition increase, the Senate is unable to make any progress without resorting to speculation, a course of action to which they are obviously opposed.

While the Senate still has yet to make final decisions on the measures which will be taken, students are encouraged to take an active role by signing the petition, and making the Board aware of the importance of this issue to the students of this institution.

For further information, or to offer feedback or suggestions, feel free to contact the Chatham Student Government at [email protected], or the CSG Executive President Mareija Bibbs at [email protected].

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    Elise ZavadakFeb 10, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    It’s great to see Chatham Student Government doing advocating for themselves and the students. Great article and great move by CSG.