UDC protests continue

Students at the University of the District of Columbia continue to protest a potential increase in undergraduate tuition to curb the university's financial problems.

The UDC Board of Trustees passed a proposal from UDC President Allen Sessoms Feb. 18 to raise the school's tuition from $3,800 to $7,000 for D.C. residents - a measure that many UDC students are strongly against. The proposal also raises tuition prices for students who are not D.C. residents to $14,000.

Several UDC students told The Eagle they believe the tuition increase is a terrible idea and will cause extra stress and problems for students.

Samuel Osae, a nursing student at UDC, said he thinks the additional tuition cost will have a negative effect on students' study habits and quality of life at the university.

"I think it will change how we will study, and we will forgo a lot of things," he said. "We will find it hard to buy things like books."

In addition to having to consider the price of books and extra curricular activities, students may need to choose a different college to attend, where tuition prices are more affordable, Osae said.

Like Osae, UDC nursing student Modest Ndengoh said he will reconsider his enrollment at the university.

"For me, if [the tuition is raised], I'll probably drop out," he said.

Ndengoh and Osae are both transfer students who live in Northern Virginia. They would have to pay twice as much as D.C. students to attend UDC if Sessoms' plan goes into effect. Ndengoh said he might transfer to a school in Virginia, where he can pay much lower in-state prices.

"If they're going to increase the tuition, I think a lot of students who live in D.C., will go to Virginia or Maryland where they have equally good schools and they will pay less," he said.

The UDC Board of Trustees voted last month to build a community college in conjunction with the proposed tuition increase so students will have a less expensive, alternate path to receiving an education at the university, said Jackie Boynton, UDC's vice president of marketing.

"Our goal is to retain all of our students," she said. "We hope that with the community college and the four year flagship that we will allow more residents to attend college."

An increase in tuition will allow the university to make repairs on its physical plant, recruit new faculty members and improve the quality of student support services at the university, Boynton said.

Chelsea Strandberg, a senior in the School of International Service, said she did not expect a tuition increase for a recently accredited school. Strandberg, who lives across Van Ness Street from UDC, said she saw UDC students protesting and sleeping on the school's grounds, which seemed unusual because the campus is normally calm and quiet, she said.

Katie Unthank, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication, said she is not thinking about the effect the economy is having on AU because she plans to graduate in May, but she will look at rising tuition costs when she considers going to graduate school.

"It's a worry for grad school that tuition will be more expensive at places where it was more affordable," she said.

You can reach this writer at news@theeagleonline.com.

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