Student Liberation Front, a relatively new group of undergraduates who are a part of the UW SWC, recently wrote this piece on the failure of the "High Tuition/High Aid" model!
Public Statement on the High Tuition/High Aid Model
by the UW Student Liberation Front (SLF)
This riddle could be solved simply by looking at the unwritten premise behind the Husky Promise and the high tuition/high aid model. On paper, the Husky Promise is a "guarantee to Washington state students that we will not let financial challenges stand in the way of...achieving a UW degree." This sugar coating Promise was strategic in convincing low-income students that they could still access the university and projecting Emmert as a friend to working-class families, while deeper changes of privatization of the university could simultaneously occur unnoticed. Three years later amid a state budget crisis, Emmert's call for higher tuition instead of lower tuition and more grants is revealing not only the priorities of the Regents, but also the initial underlying purpose behind the Husky Promise: privatization via tuition hikes for students. Privatization essentially means less state input and more corporate control over UW, as evidenced by the Regents sitting on the boards of various big businesses. By increasing tuition and student services fees, the Regents have a secure source of money outside state funding that can be freely used to fund corporate projects and priorities and to leverage further investment. This explains why workers have been easily cut, at the same time that construction of new facilities and labs are occurring, so long as the Regents believe the latter is profit-generating. We are witnessing a wholesale deprioritization of education at UW (layoffs of workers who maintain classrooms, increased class sizes) and a shift to profit-generating activities such as research. If Emmert believes that education is public and a priority of UW, then he would have pushed for low tuition and increased grant aid for low-income students. The UW Student Liberation Front is demanding low tuition and increased financial aid in the form of grants. We are fighting for the preservation of the Husky Promise, and re-envisioning it not as a means to increase tuition, as Emmert wants, but as an ends because low-income students have a right to higher education. The Student Liberation Front meets on Mondays at 7:00pm in Suzzallo Cafe. -Veryl Pow UW Student Liberation Front (firstname.lastname@example.org)