Lang freshman Madison Salas is leaving The New School after the Spring 2017 semester because of tuition prices. Salas is moving back to her home state of California and attending community college.

“It’s really upsetting because now I have to leave. I’m making the decision to leave because it’s more financially responsible. If my scholarships went up, it’d probably be more feasible for me to stay here. But now they’re going to lose my tuition,” Salas said.

Salas enjoyed her time at The New School — she loved the classes she took, the things she learned, and the experiences she had during this year. Salas is sad that she’s leaving, but also feels a sense of relief. Her departure will lift the financial burden felt by her and her parents.

The problem is that scholarships through the university stay the same even as tuition raises at The New School. For some scholarship students, this makes paying tuition harder. For others, like Salas, these increases may force them to leave The New School.

In the past decade, tuition at Lang has gone up 47.6 percent, according to The New School’s Tuition and Fees Archives. Undergraduate tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year will increase by 3.85 percent to $22,260, except for Parsons, which will increase at the same rate to $23,410, according to Tuition and Fees. The raise is necessary “in keeping with our ongoing commitment to providing outstanding education and co-curricular services,” Michelle Relyea, vice president for Student Success, said in an university-wide email announcing the increases on March 27.

For the last two years, tuition rates across the university have increased by a lower 3.5 percent, according to previous emails sent by Relyea.

Tuition increases for the 2015-2o16 academic year were explained as an effort “to achieve a single undergraduate tuition rate,” according to Relyea’s email, as NSFP reported in May 2015. Except for Parsons, tuition rates are identical across undergraduate divisions. (Parsons costs $790 more per semester).

If tuition continues to increase at the rate it has been, in 5 years one semester at Lang or the College of Performing Arts will cost $27,323. In 10 years, $33,003.

According to The New School’s Institutional Information and Finances fact sheet, 5,750 undergraduate students received some kind of financial aid for the fiscal year of 2015. The average aid per student was $15,073 — a 1.6 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.

Lisa Shaheen, Senior Director of Financial Aid, said that The New School uses the same scholarship award system as many other United States universities. The New School does not increase undergraduate scholarships with tuition because students have the ability to take out loans.

“Scholarships for undergraduate students stay the same as tuition costs change. The difference in approaches is related to the fact that undergraduate students have access to State and Federal grants as well as subsidized loans, while loan eligibility usually increases for those students the longer they are in school,” Shaheen said.

Tuition raises affect students who do not receive significant aid from the school as well as students who do. Lang freshman Rebecca Chamblee has realized that her time at The New School will cost more than she anticipated.

“I had enough savings for two full years here, but now with tuition going up, it’ll drain quicker. It’s a lot of money to pay out of pocket,” Chamblee said.

“If I didn’t have family to help cover the costs of tuition, I wouldn’t be able to go here,” said Natasha Thirlwell, a photography major at Parsons.

Thirlwell is an international student, which prevents her from applying to grants in the United States.

“I am able to apply for aid from my country, but it won’t cover anywhere near enough. I’m very lucky to have family that supports me,” Thirlwell said.

Financial awards for graduate students do increase as tuition increases, as they are not eligible for the same loans. Graduate student scholarships are percentage-based, as awards can be more easily adjusted as students fluctuate between part-time and full-time status, according to Shaheen.

In the meantime, however, undergrads are still having difficulty. Jasmin Hack, an illustration major at Parsons, receives a financial award package from The New School, but next semester will start using her father’s veterans assistance benefits. With tuition increases, the institutional aid Hack receives will no longer sufficiently cover costs.
“I’m personally very lucky,” Hack said. “If I didn’t have that, I’d kind of be screwed.”

Graphic by: Alex Gilbeaux

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