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When thoughts of increased tuition and/or fees pass through the mind of an average college student, the typical knee-jerk reaction involves cries of protest and a long string of expletives directed at the school’s administration.

As news spreads through the W.P. Carey School of Business and the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering about a proposal that calls for a significant increase in college-specific fees, we would expect the same reaction to gain steam amongst the students. We will understand their gripes about this pricey proposal and we will certainly sympathize with the hundreds of dollars that will likely be added to their tuition bill.

However, we hope they will carefully consider the differences between what is pricey and what is costly, and ultimately acknowledge the merit of the fees. It’s true the fees will create a monetary pinch for some students, but the benefits — including new equipment and technology that stand to advance the quality of education in both schools — make it worthwhile and something other colleges may want to look into implementing on varying degrees.

To us, fee costs, which would go on top of next school year’s rising tuition rates if the Arizona Board of Regents approves the fee hike, are not pleasant, but they could be necessary to help students bear the fruits of their larger educational investment in the face of economic uncertainty through the entire institution.

The realities of the University’s financial situation demand this. Good things cost money and, right now, money is one luxury ASU does not have. Facing dramatic budget cuts as their primary source of funding (the state of Arizona) has run dry, any means necessary to keep the school operating at a high quality and not sacrifice the broader University mission of becoming an elite university is something we must support — even if it ends up dramatically increases our cost to attend the school. After all, you get what you pay for.

While we don’t expect anyone to pay anything out of their pockets happily, an accepting mentality is what the larger University community must develop. Students in particular (us included) have always been relatively shortsighted when it comes to paying for education. As we should, we dislike paying all of those extra couple hundred dollars that build up over the course of a school year.

But isn’t an investment what higher education ultimately is? We must come to realize that we need to feed the University for it to provide for us.

For too long, ASU students have not demanded much out of their school besides providing them a good value and good place to party. Those are still both the case; however, the University is positioning itself to become elite and therefore, becoming an even better value considering the cost of other quality schools. In other words, as University President Michael Crow told us, “Name the school you could go to at a lower cost that you would go to.”

In the end, someone must foot the bill. And while we would love for the state to continue doing so, it’s time the students realize the need for taking personal (and financial responsibility) for ASU’s path to continued success and its rise to world-class status.

To us, these fees just represent the start of this call to action. If we don’t accept the call, the path will only get bumpier.

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