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Letter to the Editor: Loyola must provide more for students

Published: Friday, February 1, 2013

Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 11:02

Anyone who has gone to Loyola in the last few years knows that this school has a problem with freshmen retention. The administration has explained this with excuses ranging from severe weather to partying on the weekends. They never think to look in a mirror for their poor retention rates.

According to Academic Affairs on Loyola’s website Loyola hit a peak retention rate in 2009, with an average of 82 percent. By the next year that number fell five percent to 77 percent, which puts us just below the national average by 0.1 percent.

So to help the administration find their Achilles’ heel, we will be holding up the mirror so that they can see what we, the students, see.

The first and most daunting challenge that any student must face is a financial one. Unfortunately, in this country, education has become one of the most expensive and yet necessary commodities, and Loyola is following the trend in continuously raising its prices. Tuition and housing are getting more and more expensive with each passing year.

Now we acknowledge that the cost of living goes up and everything gets more expensive, including education. However, the cost of education has risen 42 percent in public institutions and 31 percent in private institutions in the last ten years, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Which, when you deal with tens of thousands of dollars, adds up to obscene amounts of money (And how much of that increase has made its way to the staff that deserves it?), which shouldn’t be an issue in a Jesuit school ostensibly devoted to public service and charity.

Financial aid provides some relief, but student finance offices do not communicate with each other, or with the students. Most students won’t even know there is a problem until just before registration when they find they have a hold. By this point, everything has to be rushed or gets missed. So good students have to jump through hoops they didn’t even know existed just to be able to keep going here.

How many students have been unable to return to school because of problems with financial aid? And how many of those problems could have been resolved if the financial aid office communicated more effectively with both the university and the students?
And then if the student is able to pay for his or her first and second semester, there is still the obstacle of getting around campus. Construction is taking up much of the limited space at Loyola and elevators are breaking down with increasing frequency even though the Americans with Disabilities Act requires. that they be maintained. This can make it hard for a student or faculty of limited mobility and health to get to classes and actually be a student or professional. Or just live their lives.

These are just a few of the many issues that students deal with that makes it harder and harder to stay a Loyola student. So if the administration wants to find an answer, we suggest they ask the students.

Sincerely,
Lauren Joyner and David Gold
History senior and theater senior 

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