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Do you still have student debt? What did you do on March 4th?

When I attended an elite, private college, the rate of tuition was $36,000 per year. Now it’s $50,000 per year. Imagine that. 4 years of college will put you $200,000 in debt.

Contrast this with the $500 per year that a student paid in 1953 at Marylhurst University. How could tuition increase 10,000% in 57 years?

It’s an epidemic. This issue has already affected you, whether you realize it or not.

It’s happening all over the US. The Huffington Post covered a day of action from California to Texas to Maine. Student tuition is being hiked at unprecedented rates.

At University of Texas at Austin, tuition is being artificially raised almost 6 percent. While in California’s University system, student fees are ratcheting up over 32 percent, which adds up to another $2,500 per student, per year. Students going to college today will be in debt for 10, 20, even 30 years just for an undergraduate degree. Most teachers are part time. And it’s not getting better. Where is the money going?
How did we get here?

1. US Wages haven’t increased since the 1970s.
2. University administrative cost has increased 200% since the 1970s. There are even some who say, “You should always be doing a capital campaign.” (For the sheer energy and urgency it brings to your fundraising I suppose.)
3. And state and federal government is pulling billions out of public education.

Even if you are not a student, or the relative of a student, this affects you because the American economy is moved primarily by consumers buying goods and services. If people can no longer afford to buy anything, there will be not much of an economy left. And people will not be able to give in large numbers to your cause.

My old college has created new building after new building since I graduated, until I can hardly recognize the place. There was no need for these new buildings. But the corporatization of higher education has corrupted these institutions to such an extent that it’s becoming obvious that the last thing they care about is learning and the students. It’s all about their bottom line.

What can we, as fundraisers, do about the tuition rate jumps and budget cuts at colleges around the country?
1. Call your congressperson. Tell them you are not in favor of these tuition hikes.
2. Call your state representative. Tell them you will not support them if they do not apply pressure to these educational institutions to lower their tuition.
3. Find a campus group organizing near you. Go to a protest, and show your support.
4. Urge other fundraisers that you know who work on college campuses to strike against this injustice against millions of college students.

For more information on student debt and tuition,
The National Center for Education statistics
Wikipedia article on Higher Education Finances
Commission on the Future of Higher Education
A TEST OF LEADERSHIP-Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education

Want more free advice on fundraising? Follow me on twitter @wildwomanfund

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