Financial aid should apply to non-Tulane summer courses

Kevin Young, Staff Writer

The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Tulane University’s Office of Financial Aid is a bit of an oddball. Across the United States, most universities’ financial aid offices will allow students to take out student loans in the summer if they want to take summer classes or pay for living costs associated with taking summer classes, regardless of the university. At Tulane, this is not true. Tulane’s Office of Financial Aid will only process student loans in the summer for its students if those students are taking classes at Tulane or on a Tulane-run study abroad program. Tulane should change its financial aid policies to allow its students to take out student loans in the summer.

The current system has a number of problems. Aside from the fact that it is virtually unprecedented, the policies limit students’ academic opportunities. Let’s say that our friend Yael wants to take a Kurdish language course back in her home city of Tucson, Arizona at the nearby University of Arizona. Unfortunately, Yael grew up in a trash can and eats dinners out of the dumpsters from the Chinese restaurant next door, so she clearly cannot pay for the Kurdish course. If Yael was a student at nearly any other American university, her university would let her take out a student loan to cover part of the costs. Since she goes to Tulane, however, she is out of luck.

Let’s say Yael considers taking that Kurdish course at Tulane over the summer, since Tulane is willing to give her a student loan if the course is at Tulane. Except, that cannot happen either. For one, Yael would have to take out a ton more in loans, since she will need money for a place to live and food to eat. Tulane’s tuition is also much higher than that of many public universities, especially if the student can get an in-state tuition discount. Even worse, Tulane’s summer course offerings are so low  even in incredibly important fields like Middle Eastern Studies  that no Tulane professor will be teaching Kurdish that summer.

That is why the Office of Financial Aid’s current policies are not ideal; this is also why Tulane should change its policies to reflect those of virtually every other American university. Better still is the fact that Tulane officials cannot even come up with any legitimate reasons to defend their policies. Perhaps these rules were made a long time ago for some unknown good reason that no one can remember. What’s important, however, is that they must be completely done away with and updated to reflect modern times.

Kevin Young is a sophomore in the Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected]