Every college student has been there. You have your eye on a certain class, whether it piques your interest or fulfills an important requirement for your degree. Registration opens and the class is full. You’re left scrambling to find another class or begging the professor to let you in.Santa Monica College, has a novel idea for combatting this problem: a tiered tuition system. Starting this summer, as reported by The New York Times, some classes will be offered at two tuition rates. Students anxious to register for the class can pay the higher rate.
Budget cuts at state university systems nationwide have impacted schools’ course availability. Students might be struggling to enroll in the courses they need to graduate, as schools don’t have the money to hire more faculty to teach more courses. Santa Monica College’s plan can combat both problems. Increased tuition prices bring more money into the school, and the tiered tuition system allows students to get in the courses they need—for a price.
Critics argue that letting students buy their way into courses benefits those students who have the financial resources to get in—and leaves other students in the dark. Ultimately, it’s about equity, and critics believe that this tiered tuition system is anything but equitable.
Paying higher tuition rates simply to get in a class isn’t ideal. However, waiting additional semesters to graduate because you can’t get in the course you want presents even more problems. This tiered tuition system can help students graduate on time, allowing them to secure the courses they need. In the end, paying a higher tuition rate for one class is cheaper than going to school for an extra semester simply because you haven’t fulfilled your graduation requirements.