Two student government leaders met with Budget Director Stephen Golding for over an hour yesterday to discuss tuition increases and to press for a long-term plan to continue decreasing the rate of tuition increases. David Kaufman, chairperson of the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, and Allison Bieber, the secretary of the Undergraduate Assembly, both met with Golding in the hour-long meeting. Bieber agreed, saying student participation in the UA's financial aid letter drive proves students are committed to the issue. UA leaders gathered about 4,000 signatures last month on letters asking federal officials to increase aid to the University. And Kaufman cautioned against expecting students to be able to afford all tuition increases. "They can't consider undergraduates as just pure revenue generators that they have to provide services for," he said. Golding told the undergraduates the administration is aware of student concerns and is also committed to keeping tuition down, but said a definitive long-term committment may not be appropriate. "Building a budget requires a trade-off" of costs and services, Golding explained yesterday. "It would be wrong not to debate it every single year. Every year we will have to revisit that question." Golding told the students the University is facing a new economic climate, in which it will no longer be able to rely on "one income stream" like tuition or state funding. It will also be forced to choose among the services it provides, in order to "maintain accessibility and financial viability." Golding said that, like the current five-year plans which the University has asked each school to make, his office is preparing a three- to five-year resource and budget plan, which "will allow people to understand where the [University's] resources go." But Bieber said the UA wants a stronger committment to reduce increases, saying that "there shouldn't be a five-year plan, it should be a ten-year project." Kaufman explained that students are solely responsible for fighting tuition increases and cannot expect support from other members of the University. "I think this is the one area where we're all alone on this issue," he said. "You don't see the faculty or administration decrying the high tuition rate." Golding told the representatives he is not overly optimistic about improvements in the University's finances in the coming years. "The pressure on our revenue streams are going to grow rather than shrink in the next couple of years," he said, adding that the University will have to prepare to pay "a higher portion or share of being a citizen in Philadelphia." But Golding did have one positive note about the University's finances, referring to the economic crisis facing Philadelphia. "The bright side is we don't have Mayor Goode's problems," he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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