Chance for change

On March 13, Ferris State University President David Eisler held a meeting at West Campus Community Center to discuss student debt and graduation rates.

The meeting was part of a series of meetings to address the growing issue of FSU students graduating with seemingly insurmountable loan debt. Among the nearly two-dozen members in attendance were financial aid representatives, enrollment services representatives and various FSU faculty.

As the meeting continued, Ferris faculty displayed statistics and data revealing tuition growth, student debt and the increasing number of years it is taking FSU students to graduate college.

However, the most astonishing sight of the evening was not the chart of figures showcasing students with over $100,000 in tuition debt; it was the number of empty chairs, which outnumbered the people in attendance.

Even though those in attendance had formulated possible solutions to the concern of tuition debt increases, I couldn’t help but wonder what potential answers lied in the minds of those who did not attend.

Answers such as eliminating textbooks, reducing degree credit requirements and even removing internship costs for students were all brainstormed at the meeting. Still, there appeared to be a disconnection between some faculty’s perception of today’s college experience, and the actual classroom responsibilities and commitments students face.

We have to bridge that gap by becoming involved in not only the affairs of the students, but also of the faculty. As students who make up FSU, we should graduate with the belief that we made a difference while we were here.

These upcoming discussions on general education requirements, student financial literacy and tuition costs represent our chance to say we made a difference not only in the way our university is run, but also in the way faculty views our role as FSU students.