EDITORIAL: Links between health care, tuition

Tuition increases hurt us all, especially in this economy. For the ’09-’10 year, tuition increased 3.5 percent, the lowest increase in 30 years. Room and board increased by 2.5 percent for a total 3.2 percent increase. Still, 3.2 percent of $50,000 is a lot of money.

The University increases tuition to cover costs, and about 45 percent of the University’s funds go to expenses for faculty and staff, like salaries and benefits, according to a Sept. 2008 Villanovan article. However, benefits costs outweigh salary costs. Between 2004 and 2008, Villanova salary expenses grew by 23.9 percent, while benefit expenses grew by 33.2 percent, according to Ken Valosky, who in a March 2007 article said that faculty and staff health insurance costs are a particular burden to the University.

With benefit costs growing by a third every four years and health care expenses dominating this area, students face similarly consistent tuition increases.

A private school, like Villanova, is especially at a loss when purchasing health insurance for its employees, especially when compared to a larger, public university that can buy in bulk or team up with other state agencies. Villanova is pricey, then, not just because of the quality of the education it offers, but because of the benefits it must offer to employees.

How would a health care bill, specifically universal health care, affect Villanova? How much would tuition decrease by if health care costs were cut out of the school’s operating budget? Would a public option reduce health care expenses incurred by faculty and staff? It’s something to consider when debating health care and paying your tuition bill this year.