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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USG Introduces College Affordability And Transparency Resolution

With tuition rising faster than inflation -- on average 4.8% per year, according to the USG -- students want to know where their money is going.

The University Student Government meets tonight to introduce a resolution to increase college affordability and financial transparency. With tuition rising faster than inflation -- on average 4.8% per year, according to the USG -- students want to know where their money is going.

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The resolution, dated November 3, begins with 26 declarations to build USG’s case for additional oversight and ends in 10 resolutions to increase accountability.  Paul Samaha, USG Assistant Marketing Director and study co-author, said there were three broad goals of the resolution: to make tuition more affordable through a tuition freeze, to increase transparency and to make sure student voices were being heard.

Paul Samaha, USG
Paul Samaha, USG

In the months leading up to the resolution the USG surveyed students to find out more about their finances and understanding of university finances. Resolutions were partially based on the information collected from the 1,903 students who responded to the survey. One key finding, was that 76% of students knew “someone who has transferred out of USC or considered taking a leave of absence from USC because of tuition costs.” 

A senior at USC is currently paying $6,000 more in tuition than when they entered as a freshman, according to the resolution. One implication of tuition increases is that “20% of respondents take out private loans to help pay for USC.”

Samaha said that the administration was surprised by the survey findings and the “disconnect between the administration and the student body.”  He continued, “[it was] really alarming that weren’t even aware of how many students don’t know where their tuition dollars are going and how many students aren’t able to make ends meet and have to transfer out.”

The resolution calls for a tuition freeze until the university “develops and publishes a strategic plan to address the issue of college affordability.” The document also demands the administration re-establish University Student Fee Advisory Committee, which will have the “express” authority to either consent or deny any adjustments to student programming and student services fees.

The USG senate will discuss the resolution Tuesday at 7 p.m. They plan to vote at the Senate meeting next Tuesday evening.  If at least seven USG senators approve the resolution, it will be delivered to the administration for review in the next two weeks.

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