The possibility of a flat-rate tuition plan for University of Nebraska students, as announced by NU President James B. Milliken on Nov. 13, carries pros and cons for students. On one hand, a student taking 18 credit hours would pay the same amount for tuition as a student taking 12, presenting an incentive to take more classes and graduate more quickly. On the other hand, a student taking 12 credit hours would pay the same amount as one taking 18. Many students have jobs and activities that force them to take few classes each semester, and they would be penalized financially.
Either way, the decision to install the block tuition plan or not presents an opportunity for university administrators to do their homework and allow students to weigh in on the debate.
In mentioning the plan, Milliken made no allusion to research that may have been done on the effectiveness of flat-rate tuition. The Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board hopes adminsitration will look into how block tuition plans fared for other institutions. Without that research, how could they learn from the experiences of other schools that took block tuition for a test drive? It would be foolish to take on this plan without first looking into its efficacy with other universities that have tried it.
And who better to comment on the merits and pitfalls of the plan than the people it would affect the most? The student body should have a louder voice when it comes to decisions of this magnitude.
Take, for example, administration’s former plan to privatize the University Health Center. The plan was eventually voted down in June, but regardless, UHC employees and students had very little input in the proposal in its infancy. The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska in March said the university should consult students for future decisions. And the decision concerning block tuition offers that opportunity.
In short, if Milliken wants to see this plan come to fruition, we hope UNL administrators do their research first — and that includes asking us what we think, too.