By AARON YNCLAN, Staff Writer
Tuition doesn’t pay for everything. This may come as a surprise to some students, but the combined costs of maintenance, operations, and expansions coupled with the need to maintain a reasonable tuition fee adds up to a hefty bill that can’t be facilitated only by student dues. This is the primary focus of Tuition Freedom Day.
Spearheaded by the University of Michigan-Dearborn faculty and the Student Philanthropy Council, Tuition Freedom Day is an annual event designed to educate the student body on the costs of maintaining campus facilities and as well as thank and raise awareness towards the groups that assist UM-Dearborn.
“Tuition Freedom Day is the day of the year where tuition stops paying for our operational costs and the rest of the year has to be made up through outside contributions and support,” said Peggy Pattison, Director of Alumni Relations. “It’s [essentially] educating campus on the importance of outside support from our community partners, from our alumni, and from friends of the university.”
As mentioned before, the necessity for outside assistance stems from the inability to maintain operations without it.
“It’s a common practice among universities. Tuition never pays for everything that we need because it wouldn’t be affordable,” Pattison said, “We have to keep the cost affordable for our students, and as state funding changes we have to make adjustments.”
Pattison explained that Tuition Freedom Day teaches the student body the importance of donor’s assistance along with the various aspects involved with school costs, such as the number of available scholarships and the dollar value spent on those scholarships and the maintaining of labs.
“We put yard signs out all over campus, and they have little facts. So as you walk across the sidewalks, you read the signs, and that’s the main way that we get these facts out there,” Pattison said.
Another method employed was the creation of a short, 2-minute video highlighting Tuition Freedom Day and the facts that Pattison mentioned, which can be viewed from the UM-Dearborn webpage or YouTube.
The donors themselves are made up from a number of sources, including alumni and campus affiliates.
“Community partners, businesses, alumni, friends to the university, a whole array of people. We couldn’t do this with any one specific group, it takes a village,” Pattison added.
Tuition Freedom Day is being held today, February 18th, on the UC stage from 10:00-4:00. Students who are interested may visit the stage at any time and will also have the opportunity to show their appreciation by signing a thank-you card for all of the donors who have assisted UM-Dearborn and it’s students.