If you are a Rhode Island College student reading this, you most likely at some point in your RIC career have felt that the college has offered a mediocre education and college experience. For some it is to be expected, because after all, tuition is quite generous compared to what other universities in the area have to offer. Now, imagine what that decent to good enough education would look like with $10.4 million less. According to the Rhode Island College website, there is a projected $10.4 million deficit for the 2021 fiscal year. If you thought grilled cheese price gouging was bad, imagine what crafty schemes the administration has in store for us this year!
RIC staff will be enduring the brunt of this financial disaster. Not only has the Henry-Barnard elementary school closed; adjunct faculty members are taking a fifty percent cut to the funds allocated to them. This has impacted RIC students directly as classes have been cancelled as a result of austerity measures.
Students are right to fear this budget pitfall. Online classes in and of itself are already an inferior service compared to the on-campus experience, as well as interacting with professors and peers in person. What are we to expect with pay cuts to faculty wages and resources? The fact of the matter is, with a wage cut comes a decline in performance. This is a very slippery slope for an already shaky reputation that RIC administrators and staff have among the students and community. Furthermore, with online classes comes a decrease in student morale, which is followed by a higher dropout rate, which leads to even less money for the college. This may look like a very bleak picture, but there are two things the college can do to secure the trust of the student body. Take this chance to listen to a student.
The first is to GUARANTEE in person classes for students in the spring semester. Half-measures and loose implications will not encourage students in the current semester to continue their studies and see them through the current semester. It is important to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Second, stick to the policy of not increasing student tuition that has been implemented ever since the corona crisis started. In these troubling times many students have had to pick up extra hours or even become full timers to make ends meet in their financial lives. Locking tuition is a good way to let students calculate living expenses for the next semester and thus, enable them to feel more confident going into their education.
These may seem like common sense measures to many, but it is important that it is said, nevertheless. College administration must know that the student body is keeping a sharp eye on them. The student body is paying for a degree supplied by knowledge of other humans, not YouTube tutorials.
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