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Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

Students celebrate with Valentine Brunch amid worry of tuition rise

Peyton Reich
Niya Rodriguez, a sophomore English major and Dean Garcia, a freshman Illustration Major, pose for a photo at the Valentine’s Day brunch. On Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, at the Student Center.

With snacks and movies to celebrate the holiday, students enjoyed the Valentine’s Day festivities just days after news of a tuition increase and hours before it was announced that President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim was stepping down. 

The Valentine Brunch was one of several on-campus events to bring students to celebrate the love-themed holiday. It offered a waffle bar where students got to heat up waffles with a toaster and top them with add ons such as chocolate syrup and whipped cream. 

Students also had the opportunity to write self-love poems and watch Valentine’s Day-themed movies in Student Life, located on the 3rd floor of the Student Center, on Feb. 14. Many arrived with flower bouquets and gifts to give each other. 

The event allowed students to relax after the recent announcement of a 5% tuition increase on Feb. 9. 

Kim said tuition, fees and housing rates will increase for the 2024-25 academic year, as approved during the most recent meeting of the Board of Trustees. 

Jennifer Kempf, a first-year graduate student in the arts management program, said she found the tuition increase announcement frustrating.

“It would be nice if maybe we could have a locked-in price when we agreed to come here instead of having an increase every year,” Kempf said.

She also understands the frustration of students not getting certain classes due to them being cut. “I just hope they provide us with educations that are worthwhile,” Kempf said.

Sophomore music major Alexis Delgado said he heard about the tuition increase on social media and is finding it financially challenging to pay for tuition. Delgado said he needed to do his part by applying for scholarships. 

“There’s one thing with me graduating here, but if it costs too much, then it doesn’t feel like I should continue attending,“ Delgado said.

First-year arts management graduate student Chloe Wang said she spoke with her parents about the increase but was assured tuition was increasing in colleges across the U.S. and she will be okay as she will graduate next year. 

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition at four-year institutions in the U.S. increased by 3.8% in the 2021-2022 academic year. 

However, Wang is concerned about the college’s financial standing as she had heard about the possibility of school buildings being sold to reach a “financial balance.”

“It’s not fair to raise tuition, but it’s fine if they also help us develop our environment and our resources are good,” sophomore film and television BFA Vince Luo said.

He said some equipment in the film department had not been updated recently due to not receiving enough support from the school. 

Luo said that as college costs have increased, his parents financially supported him with tuition, but less on funding his films. He thought about transferring during the strike but said it was difficult to transfer to other schools due to requirements such as GPA, credits and language tests. 

“I’m just not happy with paying for what the school has done,” Luo said. 

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About the Contributors
Uriel Reyes, Reporter
ureyes@columbiachronicle.com   Uriel Reyes is a sophomore music performance major, minoring in journalism. He primarily covers the Muesum of Contemporary Photography, and the Dance and Theatre Departments. Reyes has also written student spotlight articles and film reviews. He joined the Chronicle in January 2023.   Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Peyton Reich, Photojournalist
preich@columbiachronicle.com   Peyton Reich is a junior photojournalism major, minoring in marketing. Reich has covered the Mexican Independence parade, Columbia's Black Student Union and theatre performances. Reich joined the Chronicle in August 2023.   Hometown: Flossmoor, Illinois