Letters to the Editor

To the Editor: Re: “The New St. John’s:”

As a double alumnus of St. John’s (BS Communication Arts 1998, MBA in Finance 2003) I think Fr. Harrington and the Board of Trustees need to leave the school building alone for a couple of years and focus on lowering or freezing tuition costs. Back in 1994 when I was a freshman, yearly tuition was $9,000 adjusted for inflation today that should be around $12,480 in 2007. The school’s undergraduate yearly tuition is $24,000 today. The University with all its new buildings (over the last 8 years) has borrowed a tremendous amount of money to build them despite an increase in alumni donations. The cost of the loan payments that were used to build the dorms is being passed on to the students and their parents. This specifically hurts middle class students who come from homes in which the parents annual income is $50K-$150K a year. These students are forced to take out private loans and leave SJU at age 22 with anymore from $50K-$100K in debt. Because their parents make too much money, they are not elgible for Pell Grants or potential TAP money that lower students are eligible for.

Many students will be paying this debt well into their 30’s. As young adults look to buy a home, if there is significant amount of student debt it may affect their ability to get the best mortgage rate available because they have a high debt/equity ratio.

The students and their parents need to contact the board of trustees their names are available on www.stjohns.edu and force the school to consolidate and lower its spending, decrease bloated administration costs, and provide the student with a great Catholic education at an affordable
price. Plus buy out veteran overpaid professors who continually receive poor student ratings, they are a drain both to the academic and financial future of St. John’s.

I understand schools like NYU or Fordham are more expensive than St. John’s but they do not share the Vincentian mission of the school. St. John’s should not be a follower in the tuition increase bandwagon but need to become a leader in tuition reform. The first step in this change is for the students and their parents to speak and demand the board of trustees institute change.