A Survey on Tuition

Submitted by: Troy  Kreiner

On April 16th 2012,
I surveyed students at Sarah Lawerence college about the financial struggle going on at The Cooper Union. I chose to survey this community on Prospective Student Day in an effort to capture the active speculation that is in agreement with the decision-making process of choosing an appropriate college. Sarah Lawerence is one of the most expensive colleges in the country. This environment inherently contrasts with the principles that The Cooper Union was built on, which is free education. Sarah Lawerence College is a prestigious institution with a highly engaged student body. That being said, the people who I surveyed were passionate about sharing their perspective. I was interested in accumulating points of view that came from the other side of the financial spectrum.

After gathering voices at Sarah Lawerence, I chose to give the same survey to students at the Cooper Union. On April 24th 2012, the Cooper Union participated in a “Walk-Out” to demonstrate solidarity toward national student loan debt reaching one trillion dollars. This demonstration was lead to Union Square where other city colleges united in mutual support. I was interested in capturing the students perspectives that were engaged from this demonstration, reflecting the energy from a powerful day.

The right to education is expected to rule out any discrimination. Charging tuition for higher education is discriminatory, be it $800 or $60,000 a year, everyone is entitled to a sophisticated academic experience. By bringing money into the academic equation, it creates a hierarchy which distracts from our education. This is an investment for our future, a price tag should not blur critical information, or worse, financially disable us. Presenting both surveys in a space where they could exist together, is the mission of this book. This arrangement will hopefully inspire more dialogue about education.