Vet Med students decry raise in tuition

Non-residents will pay over $60,000 a year after increase

IAN SMAY, Evergreen news editor

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The recent tuition increases approved by the WSU Board of Regents at their May meeting will affect students in various departments of the university.

The College of Veterinary Medicine received a 7 percent increase for both resident and non-resident students for the 2018-19 academic year.

The request brought in front of the Board by the CVM stated that “…the College of Veterinary Medicine is struggling to keep pace with needed investments in educational programs,” and the school is struggling to keep up with rising costs, stemming from areas like salary and equipment costs.

“Almost everything we use to teach with, including people’s time, is subject to inflation at a time when the public in terms of state government is not investing as strongly in higher education as it used to,” CVM Dean Bryan Slinker said.

This 7 percent increase raises tuition for resident students by a little over a thousand dollars, bringing their total to $24,994. However, non-resident students saw an increase of almost $4,000, bringing their total to $60,550. This widens the gap between to the two, with non-residents paying about $35,000 more than their resident counterparts.

Slinker said non-residents will always be asked to pay more due to them not paying into state taxes, which helps subsidize non-resident tuition.

Some non-resident students are able to pay resident tuition by coming from a state that is a member of either the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah Regional Program (WIMU) or the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), both of which allow their students to receive resident tuition.

Sarah Beard, a CVM student, said the students aren’t upset over the increase, but of how it is implemented.

“I understand that tuition needs to increase and that’s not what we were upset about,” Beard said. “It’s that it’s unfairly disproportionate for us out-of-state students.”

Beard also said students were frustrated because they had only been warned of the tuition increase proposal a few days before the meeting, a fact confirmed by Slinker.

Some students in the program spend two years in Washington and two years in Logan, Utah for their degree.

The students that spend their whole time at WSU or start here are able to get resident tuition after one year, even if they are non-residents their first year. But the students that begin in Utah cannot apply for resident tuition at any point, Slinker said.

Non-resident students receive a tuition waiver for $8,600, but with this increase covering almost half of the waiver, Beard said the waiver loses value.

“With the increase of 7 percent, the waiver is smaller … and less helpful each time tuition increases,” she said.

Slinker said while tuition has increased in recent years, it still covers less than half the cost of education.

Students want the school to look at ways to ease the burden on non-resident students when they increase tuition, Beard said.

She said some ideas include allowing all students to pay the same tuition with non-residents paying an extra flat fee and only implementing tuition increases on incoming classes to avoid raising costs on people who are already a year or more into the program.

Beard also said the tuition increases have caused some students to stop recommending the program to others.

“Talking to other classmates, it’s not a program they would recommend to anyone anymore because the cost is increasing very erratically and at a huge percentage,” she said.

While Slinker said WSU’s program costs less than most around the country, he does not foresee tuition increases ending soon.

“Odds are yes,” Slinker said of future tuition increases. “How much [is] totally unknown at this point.”