A second tuition hike in two years was announced last week, totaling $2,350, leaving many students at Simmons University under financial pressure.
While tuition will be raised 3 percent for all undergraduate students, increasing from $38,500 to $40,850, room and board fees will remain the same.
The new increase has been met with criticism and concern, as students point out that tuition was increased from $38,500 to $39,660 just last year.
“The decision to raise tuition is not an easy one for the university trustees, administration, or for me,” Drinan told students in her email. “We use tuition revenues to make sure Simmons students like you continue to receive a high quality, practical education that prepares you for rewarding and impactful careers in the modern-day workforce.”
“[Drinan] says it’s a difficult choice, but it seems like it’s not since they do it every year,” freshman Nora Olsen said.
Many students echo Olsen’s frustration.
“I think it’s stupid,” sophomore Danielle Carson said. “Especially since they literally just increased tuition last year.”
It is still unclear whether financial aid will also increase with the tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year, and with many students at Simmons relying on aid, the new increase creates hardship.
“I was freaking out, I didn’t even want to tell my parents at first,” sophomore Becky Cardinal said. “I was like, how am I going to explain this? My loan is going to increase so much, we can’t afford this.”
Fellow sophomore Abby Anderson said she is also worrying about loans.
“My loan is going to be so much bigger for next year,” Anderson said. “I know so many people who are going to have to increase their loans as well, and it just sucks, especially if you want to go to grad school or something after you graduate, it’s that much harder.”
“I transferred here, and I am way happier at Simmons, but for such a liberal school who is always saying how college should be free and available for everyone it’s so surprising when they raise tuition this much.” Cardinal said.
The repeated increases are also raising questions in the minds of the students about where exactly their money is going.
“The only renovations I’ve seen are here [Main College Building] to areas that seemed fine,” sophomore Megan Fieleke said. “There are dorms with no elevators, or classes that could use more resources, but they seem to not be using the money well. It feels like they’re taking advantage of students.”
“I know at the end of last semester there were lots of mice [on academic campus] and on res. Maybe that’s where the money should be going.”
President Drinan has also been criticized for a December article in the Boston Globe which named Drinan as one of the highest paid private college presidents nationwide, earning $1.7 million in 2016.
“Recently it’s been said that [Drinan] makes what, $1.7 million?” Olsen said.
“There’s only 2,000 students here and she makes as much as the presidents of some state Universities.”
Drinan’s yearly base salary is $500,00, which according to the Globe article, is normal for a president of a university the size of Simmons. The additional money she received in 2016 was part of a bonus plan after Drinan was credited with helping Simmons meet financial goals.
Still, students say they were shocked.
“I couldn’t believe it when I read that article,” Cardinal said. “It really baffled me how much she [made].”