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Students need greater access, input

So if anyone missed it in the push to finals last semester, some Belmont school decided to cut tuition by a third next fall.

Now before anyone calls home saying Bob Fisher has done the best thing of his 11-year tenure, let me clarify – it ain’t us.

Belmont Abbey College of North Carolina decided to cut its tuition from over $27,000 to $18,500 in the coming fall semester. The school’s president told the Charlotte Observer the move was one made “toward providing an outstanding private college education at an affordable price.”

Thank God. Someone saw the light.

After years of skyrocketing tuition, at least one school decided to stop the bleeding and make college a little more accessible for a wider range for people. For schools like Belmont (and Belmont Abbey) with smaller endowments, lowering tuition may be the only way to make their schools accessible to more students.

Now while there is no reason to believe Belmont will copy what its Abbey counterpart did, I think this Nashville school should very well follow the spirit of the move and put a much greater focus on providing for its students in the coming year.

As buildings continue to rise, the school needs to remember the students who have put their faith in the institution and have given it a chance to succeed. That means giving them a consistent chance to hear and understand what’s being planned for campus, something that didn’t happen often last semester with only one SGA Town Hall and a single Ask Dr. Fisher convo. This semester, plan more of both and make sure students get the best and most up-to-date information possible.

But let’s not stop at just informing students of what will be happening on campus. Allow a wide swath of student leaders to serve in ways that will give them input on the school’s direction. Give SGA more powers than to just prepare events and allocate money. Create student panels in each college who meet with their respective deans about issues important to them. Make students in the departments they lead be ex-officio members of faculty search committees.

Even if only a few of those things are accomplished, the progress the university would make would be more than worthwhile. The best thing at Belmont would be given a seat at the table – its students.

When that happens, the school will be a major step closer to becoming the place its leaders aspire it to be,– a place which can engage students and challenge them to give their all in pursuit of an superb education and collegiate experience.

Again, this may just be a pipe dream. But if students are given the opportunity to lead, the direction they will take the school will be something closer to the right one – one that can attract a greater selection of students that can take Belmont to the next level.

Besides, that tuition cut can always come next semester.

Vision editor Brian Wilson is a senior journalism major.

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