The Price Is Not Right: After Decades of Rising Tuition, Students Ask Themselves if the Diploma Is Still Worth the Cost
For Calin Lisenbee, a student at the School of Nursing, Columbia held the promise of financial stability and success. Lisenbee dreamed of becoming a nurse and midwife, and Columbia’s competitive doctoral program was the key to kick-starting her career. While she was initially hesitant about the high cost of tuition, Lisenbee felt that the world-renowned education and the promise of good job prospects after graduation were worth it....
Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,
This semester, while I’m working toward my English degree, my grandmother will be working toward hers too.
Updated Feb. 22, 2021, at 12:04 a.m.
As both parents and scientific researchers at Columbia, we are panicked by New York’s surging COVID-19 infection rates. Since March, no student has completely returned to school. Some students are in blended schooling—in person a few days a week—while others are learning fully remotely at home. Most after-school programs have not reopened since closing in March. The pandemic has led to serious scheduling and financial pressures on families with children, and uncertainty around when schools will open again makes it impossible to plan ahead. While some can afford to hire a nanny, many parents, and especially scientific researchers cannot....
As Joe Biden secures the 2020 election, the shift in power to the Democratic Party signals forthcoming change to higher education policy. Among other initiatives, Biden’s current higher education platform promises to reinstate broader Title IX protections and support lower-income students’ attendance of public four-year programs and community colleges....
Michael Rebell was growing frustrated. It was October, over 10 months after the trial had ended, and Judge William Smith still had not released a decision on the case. In the 50 years that Rebell had worked in education reform, he had never known a judge to take this long. His career had taught him that change often required patience, but that did not stop him from hoping that Smith’s decision would arrive sooner. The case he had presented, after all, was urgent: He believed democracy was on the line....
Last semester, the crisis unleashed by the pandemic underscored how Columbia not only serves the role of educational institution and employer for its students and workers but also functions as a landlord for over 10,000 Columbia affiliates—with all of the forms of power over students’ and employees’ lives that this status implies. Columbia frames its position within the New York real estate market as beneficial for the project of higher education, but in reality, it has subjected students and faculty to a particularly brutal form of landlordism while having extremely destructive consequences for the working-class communities that surround the University. Now more than ever, Columbia’s role as a landlord-University must be challenged through an interconnected fight for housing justice, one that would unite both student-tenants and community members behind a vision of accessible and affordable housing for students, workers, and longstanding residents alike....