By: The Commentator Editorial Board  | 

Stop Complaining About the ‘Off-Campus Fee’

We've heard all the arguments already: students and parents vociferously rail against tuition or activity fee increases, while the university's administration responds that to maintain the level of education and experience Yeshiva is providing, more of the fiscal burden must be shouldered by the consumers of the product.  Both sides have valid points, and both sides are entirely right from their own points of view.  But both could also do with a little humbling of their positions and an appreciation for a broader outlook.

For the administration of Yeshiva: it is understandable – but tragic – that in these difficult economic times, the university is, like most businesses, struggling.  Reality constantly reminds us that, no matter how noble the endeavor, idealism does not pay the bills.  Nevertheless, Yeshiva's trouble meeting the budget does not entitle those in possession of information to deprive others of it.  Amidst announcements for reimagining education there has yet to be any word on the planned costs for next year's students, nor even an indication of how said reimagining is to affect the budget as a whole.  Transparency as an achievement has long eluded this administration, a trend which seems to be getting worse instead of better.

To the students: tuition is high at Yeshiva, but this is hardly the exception; the cost of higher education across the U.S. has been increasing for the last fifty years. It's worth remembering though that the high price of Yeshiva education is not going towards lining the pockets of university administrators, regardless of popular perceptions. The increasing tuition has accompanied an aggressive expansion of Yeshiva University's undergraduate offerings, both academic and extracurricular, that make many aspects of YU almost unrecognizable from the university of eight years ago.  Look around and see how many qualified professors teach classes with only half a dozen students, how many campus events a week feature interesting speakers and refreshment spreads, how many extra-curricular clubs regularly receive funding to run a variety of programs, how many free tutoring services are offered for nearly every subject taught.  All of these seem to be out of proportion with the size of Yeshiva in a very good way; for a relatively small institution, YU offers an awful lot of opportunities to its students.  So the next time you think of complaining about the prohibitive costs of attendance, think twice and recall where the funding comes from for your Roshei Yeshiva and Arts Festivals and radio shows and CDC and Counseling Center.  And if you don't avail yourself of these resources, you should start – you're paying for them anyway.