(Tommy Alexander / MJ)

BY DEANDRE MCDAY, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, the Student Philanthropy Council set up designated areas for students to sign “Thank You” cards for various donors in the University Center, the College of Business/School of Education and CASL in celebration of their 2nd, annual Tuition Freedom Day.

So, what is Tuition Freedom Day?

Tuition Freedom Day marks the time of the academic year that your tuition dollars stop paying for your education, and the rest of the semester is funded by donations received from various businesses, faculty/staff, alumni and community members.

UMD Senior Iffa Kazi explains that, if one were to collect all the tuition money used toward student education any given year, they’d only have enough to get halfway through.

“From here on out, for the rest of the fiscal year, the rest of our education relies upon state funding, staff donations, etc.,” says Kazi. “This day is to celebrate the fact that we as students only have to pay 75% of our tuition, the other [25%] is subsidized by the donations of others.”

At first glance, passersby were reluctant to stop, but after hearing a little more about what Tuition Freedom Day was, many were eager to show their support.

“We like to show that our campus cares,” says Kazi. “So many students are surprised and shocked about how many people actually give back and I’d like to believe that they’re signing these cards because they’re truly inspired.”

Many students were under the impression that financial matters started and ended with their Federal Student Aid forms. Not quite.

As mentioned, funds received through FAFSA only account for half of the academic year, the rest is subsidized by outside support—people of the community that many students may never see.

In addition to the cards, the Student Philanthropy Council riddled campus grounds with 300 signs along the walkways in order to spread more factual information about how tuition here really works, in the hopes of showing homage to those donors who give without being formally recognized. They also provided a banner for students to sign for the UMD Faculty Senate.

“The professors really loved it when we hand delivered cards and presented gifts last year,” says Kazi. “Many appreciated the way we were raising awareness of the dedication our faculty and staff has for U of M-Deaborn.”

This year, the Student Philanthropy Council gathered some 835 signatures for their cards, and 170 for the banner.

“I’m happy and content with those numbers!” says Kazi.