Featured (Slider) Opinion

Seniors: Have You Purchased Your Philanthropy Cord Yet?

Monmouth University’s average tuition, after receiving financial aid, is about $25,000 per semester. Over the course of four years, the average time it takes a student to complete undergraduate school, this totals out to be approximately $200,000. Of course, this price fluctuates depending on a number of factors, but for the sake of this argument, let’s say that a higher education cost at Monmouth for the average student is, in fact, $200,000.

That’s a lot of money, right? For the majority of students, and for the majority of Americans, that is a crazy number. According to IncomeByZipcode.com, the median household income in New Jersey is about $97,000 with the average household income being about $135,000. According to “The Motley Fool,” these numbers are higher than their respective national statistics—$74,000 and $105,000. Anybody could do the math and figure out that it would take about over two years’ worth of these incomes to cover tuition costs at Monmouth. Of course, that would only be true if every single dime was spent towards tuition. It doesn’t account for mortgages or rent, gas, food, interest on loans, and an endless number of other expenses that need to be taken care of.

If you’re a senior at Monmouth reading this, you are more than well-versed in these expenses, and I’m reasonably sure that a number of you have taken additional measures to be able to afford your time here at the University. Every cent matters during the years of school payments, and every cent will continue to matter for many of us as we begin our careers moving forward after graduation. It’s a sad reality for the price of a higher education, which makes the Senior Giving Campaign all the more insulting.

For those unfamiliar with the Senior Giving Campaign, the Campaign, “exists to educate graduating students on the vital need to raise private support, while encouraging them to begin their participation as donors, and helps ensure continued access to a personalized Monmouth education for current and future Hawks,” according to Monmouth’s “The Senior Experience” website page. Seniors receive a philanthropy cord to wear during graduation if they make a payment totaling their class year to the campaign. For example, 2024 seniors will receive the cord if they contribute $20.24.

While $20 may seem like nothing—and for many people, it is—for a large percentage of students, $20 is gas needed to drive to their job, an essential meal, or money towards rent or any other required payment. This is not to lessen the importance of donors to any sort of private institution, but asking students who have yet to graduate to donate to their place of higher education is classless and, for lack of a better term, disrespectful of the money that a majority of students will be continuing to pay to the University for years following graduation. For a school that claims to function almost solely on student tuition, the Senior Giving Campaign seems more like the University begging for more money rather than an opportunity to contribute to the success of future students.

A senior communication student who asked to remain anonymous said, “Personally, I will not be participating in the Giving Campaign. I understand that institutions will always ask for donations, but at this time, however, I feel I’ve given more than enough money to this school.”

The cost of buying a graduation cord for yourself is less than $3. Go ahead and save the extra $17.24.