Growing UConn admissions signal higher costs with less representation 

The University of Connecticut’s has received quite an increase in application for the next academic year, many worry that the extra students will negatively affect financial aid with affects to the campus’s diversity as well. Illustration by Kaitlyn Tran/The Daily Campus.

As the end of the semester draws near at the University of Connecticut, high school seniors across the country are anticipating making the transition into college. UConn was certainly not excluded from this excitement, as the Storrs campus received a record 48,000 applications for the class of 2027, an increase of 5,000 applicants from last year, according to a March 6 communication by UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.  

Of more significance to huskies arriving next year is the record number of accepted students anticipated by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, according to The Daily Campus. While students at Storrs may not see all of the new admits projected by the university, whether they choose to attend a regional campus or decide against UConn altogether, it is clear that UConn expects growth in number and diversity.  

Although The Daily Campus Editorial Board celebrates a larger and more vibrant community of UConn students, we must acknowledge that the financial and political structure of this university creates inherent consequences for growth. In particular, UConn’s track record of increasing costs in proportion to the student population as well as its undemocratic method of governance should concern all students, whose education is more than just a public relations opportunity. 

For the UConn administration and board of trustees, students are both an asset and a liability. Although a record class size means more revenue from tuition, so too does it mean greater demand for housing, dining, mental health and other services, as well as financial aid. In order to escape this balancing act entirely, the university has historically raised tuition under the pretext of preserving “academic quality” and “protecting UConn demand,” as stated in a 2019 presentation on a five-year tuition increase plan set to expire this fiscal year.  

As we have discussed in previous editorials, precedent shows that university administrators and trustees always err on the side of price hikes instead of exploring creative ways to reduce costs for students and proactively lobby for state financial support. As an example, seemingly intuitive alternatives such as reducing the cost per credit for online courses, thus promoting distance learning and potentially curbing issues such as housing shortages and college area gentrification, would be antithetical to university officials’ purely revenue-seeking mission.  

Of equal importance to rising costs is students’ diluted political representation in UConn’s governing structures. For a population as high as 23,000 in 2021, undergraduate students only have one official representative on a board of trustees with 23 total members. This glaring inequality is only exacerbated by a growing undergraduate population, and is unlikely to be rectified any time soon, even if more student trustees are introduced. Absent systemic change from the grassroots of the UConn community, undergraduates will continue to have virtually no representation in decisions with major financial and academic impacts.  

This is not to say that UConn should not admit more students; in fact, this is the core of democratizing higher education. Rather, The Daily Campus Editorial Board wants to draw attention to the irony and hypocrisy of UConn administrators celebrating record admissions while simultaneously ensuring that their education will be less financially accessible than for previous graduating classes.  

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