Fireside Chat: Money Talks
Tuesday night students sat down with administration to discuss what everyone has on their minds: money. Acting President Randy Bergen, Vice President for Finance, Dana Funderburk, Director of Financial Aid, Marilae Lathan, and Vice President of Enrollment, Michael Ritter, all were present and ready to answer questions students had about finances and tuition.
There have been some recent rumors spreading around about tuition increase next year, so it wasn’t a surprise when that was one of the first questions of the night. Acting President Bergen explained that there will most likely a increase, but the amount won’t be decided until later this week. With news like this it is important to realize what other schools are doing as well. The average private schools have increased 5 or 6 percent in recent years, while Greenville’s increases over the last few years are usually around 3 or 4 percent.
“We try for the absolute lowest possible level every year” Bergen explained “but higher education is expensive.” He talked about the new free online courses available that thousands of students across the country can take now. The difference between that in Greenville is the education you are getting. “As long as we offer personal education, we will be expensive,” Bergen says. About 70% of our professors have the highest degree in their field. “It’s a big chunk you’re investing, but your investing in you and gaining in value,” Ritter reasoned.
A surprise to many students may be finding out how much money the school gives for student scholarships. Greenville gives 9.6 million dollars in scholarship. Those scholarships go to 96% of the student body. Ten percent of that money comes from Alumni. Alumni gave $1.8 million last year to students. That’s why it’s so important to continue giving to Greenville College, even after we’ve graduated.
So what’s next for Greenville? By this Friday Acting President Bergen says he will know the percentage increase in tuition for next year. They will also start increasing majors that offer three-year programs. By next year there will be 10 majors that students will be able to complete in a continuous three years. This will help students cut cost down. Lathan also to communicate with incoming students better about all the financial aid opportunities.
Unfortunately because of their jobs, most students are unaware of these important administrators. Most students only speak to them if they find something wrong, yet these are some of the most important jobs on campus, because they help Greenville function and help students afford it. Ritter, Latham and Funderburk all encouraged those present to come into their offices with any questions and encouraged us to tell our friends to do the same. They may be invisible to many students, but it is clear that they love helping students and work hard at it as well.