The price tag speaks louder than a bulleted list of "Core Values."

High tuition costs do not advertise the idea of opportunity to me

Being seeped in dealings with the university’s 125 anniversary celebration has helped to familiarize me with the ideals that FSU was founded upon. I think that one quote by our founder does a particularly good job of encasing these ideals.

“My plea in Michigan – and it will be my plea to the last breath I draw, and the last word I speak -is education for all children, all men, and all women of Michigan, all the people in all our states all the time.”

Woodbridge N. Ferris founded FSU with the intention of making education available to all. “Opportunity” is one of the core values of the university, both historically and in policy – but is it being upheld in practice?

As an undergraduate student with my eyes on a seat at the Michigan College of Optometry (MCO), I was prepared for a high tuition cost. I knew that school was going to be expensive no matter where I chose to go but MCO was my first choice regardless of tuition costs.

After getting my tuition bill, I was a little shocked. Wasn’t Ferris State University founded on the idea that everyone deserves education? According to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry’s website, “Annual tuition and fees at public schools and colleges of optometry range from approximately $12,000 to $20,130 for residents.”

My tuition bill exceeds the upper bound for this range. I cannot help but feel that though this money is well spent and I know MCO is the best school for me, that the fact that the cost is above average goes against the core idea of opportunity.

I need not point the finger of blame on any one program however, since even the tuition cost for undergraduate studies lies above the national average.

According to College Board’s Web site, “average published tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities in 2008-09 are $6,585.” This is $2,895 less than FSU’s estimated average tuition cost provided by the college online.

The seemingly yearly hike in tuition prices to an amount greater than the national average does not reinforce the ideals that this college was founded on – specifically that of “opportunity.”

Another point that is worth considering is the university’s admission standards for its undergraduate programs. In 2002 the minimum GPA for admission was changed from 2.00 to 2.25 and the minimum ACT from 13 to 15 (certain programs having different program-specific requirements).

It was considered at the time of the change, though how this might conflict with the founder’s ideas. And venues for students falling below these new standards were put into place. I am not sure how well these options are promoted or how visible they are as it has been quite some time since my freshmen orientation. I do hope though that prospective students that might otherwise be deterred from applying can easily learn and access these options.

Ferris State University was founded by a great man who believed that education was the right of any man or woman who sought it. I do not think that higher than average tuition costs as well as the recent raise in admissions standards reflects this principle.