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UOG students oppose increase in tuition

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - University of Guam students stood united in opposition of the proposed tuition hike at the college. It costs roughly $5,000 for a UOG student to attend a full academic year, and should a 10 percent tuition hike with additional 5 percent increases in following years take effect, it will cost over $6,000 for the 2014-2015 academic year.

"Nobody likes to raise prices and everybody wants more for their dollar. We're all subscribed to that, but here are some basic realities about the life of a university and the University of Guam," said president Dr. Robert Underwood. He explained that even if island leaders supplemented the $1.47 million to avert a 10 percent tuition hike come Spring 2013, the college would still be short millions of dollars.

Underwood says the college has held off on a tuition hike for the last three years, but it's becoming more and more difficult as 2002 was the last year Government of Guam appropriated 50 percent of the college's expenses, which has dwindled in the last decade.

But students like Jesse Quenga refuse to have the buck passed onto him and his peers. "Students see education's value in their lives. The power of being able to put 'graduate' on an application is something we all strive for. Although proponents of a tuition increase may say that other university's in the mainland are much worse, we feel that is really not a valid counter to our argument," he said.

Freshmen Sarah Garcia is part of the 73 percent of the total student population reliant on financial aid. If a tuition hike comes into fruition, she says she and her peers may consider transferring to the Guam Community College or hold off on their education. "I thought my Pell Grant would cover my tuition this semester, but unfortunately I had to pay $200 dollars out of pocket for the leftover," she explained.

For Vinni Orsini, it's a harsh reality that his savings and summer jobs will no longer cut the cost of tuition. "Right now I'm taking six classes and I'm actually $70 over, but I can't imagine another six classes and being $1,000 over. Right now I didn't buy any books but probably in my next classes, I'm going to have to get some," he said.

The college will continue to accept written testimony on the proposed tuition hike until Friday, October 19 at 5pm at the President's Office. The UOG Board of Regents are set to discuss and review the proposal and testimonies at their meeting in November.

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