Eastern’s Board of Regents voted to increase undergraduate tuition for the 2002-2003 academic year by 9.5 percent at its summer quarterly meeting. The hike in tuition will tack on an additional $111 for in-state students and $333 for non-resident students. Tuition will again increase in 2003-2004 by 9.38 percent. Graduate student tuition will be raised 9 percent for both the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 years.

The steep increase should generate approximately $2.9 million in the 2002 fiscal year and $3.9 million the following year.

Ken Johnston, vice president of finance, said the increase is needed because of the university’s revenue needs. Johnston told regents the increase will “provide a quality of higher education experience.”

Regent Jim Gilbert provided a good metaphor before he voted to support the increase. “I just want to make sure we are looking at all legs of the financial stool. I’m not convinced we are.”

So why didn’t the university look into other ways of generating revenue rather than simply placing the increase in the hands of students? The board should have given the increase more thought and should have pondered over other ways to generate needed money before taking such quick action.

Students not only have to fork out the money for tuition each semester, they have to come up with the money for things such as books, school supplies, fees and housing. Most students work to pay their way through college while juggling academics at the same time. It isn’t fair to make it harder for students to obtain an education by hiking tuition.

Eastern is labeled as a “school of opportunity.” Increasing tuition could result in a number of students not pursuing a college education simply because of cost. Opportunity to bring in revenue, yes. . . but opportunity definitely won’t be knocking on students’ doors next fall.