Does CWRU give us a run for our money?

The Observer

A news article in this issue poses an ever-relevant question: is Case Western Reserve University worth its price? Indeed, it seems that one of the most often heard complaints on our campus involves the astronomically high tuition rates. According to the article, CWRU students are not the only ones struggling with finances and debt. Over the past decade, college tuitions have increased 66 percent and student debt has seen an increase of a whopping 77 percent. Just this year, the price of private institutions has been bumped up 3.8 percent.

This is certainly problematic. Problematic is also the fact that CWRU has been listed among universities with the highest average debt loads: 59 percent of the 2011 graduates who borrowed money owed an average of $39,886. The following year, this amount went down, but only slightly. This reflects badly on our university: a few students interviewed for the article claim that they have considered transferring from CWRU just because of the high tuition. Some alumni have been quoted saying that they will not donate to CWRU because they will be in debt for life.

However, what CWRU does excel in is merit-based scholarships. Our university is among the more generous crowd in that area: 80 percent of CWRU students received grants and scholarships. Not to mention the tuition waivers that the university grants to the children and spouses of both faculty and staff. Applications have increased approximately 150 percent – clearly prospective students think that a CWRU education is more worthy than ever.

Among the high-tuition institutions in the nation, there are inevitably colleges that could be considered as “rip-offs,” but is CWRU one of them? We would argue no – at least if you make the most out of the resources CWRU offers.

According to, a website that includes the financial, academic, and student life profiles of different universities across the nation, the most recent employment rate for CWRU graduates after six months from graduation was 86 percent. The average starting salary listed on the website is $52,000. In the current economy, these are actually very respectable statistics. A CWRU degree will increase the chances of getting a job that will be sufficient to pay off student loans. For many students, this is exactly what makes a college “worth it.”

We are also not paying solely for education. The students of CWRU are paying for plenty of other resources that, when put to perspective, are luxurious. We have a 24/7 library with plenty of space for studying and research as well as high technology available for round the clock use. We have professors that are among the leaders in their respective fields and have been cited countless times in different journals. We pay high tuition, but there are many services that are counted in it, like discounted tickets to see a world class orchestra play in Severance Hall and free admission to the botanical gardens, not to mention the downloadable programs in the software center. The list goes on.

The bottom line is this: the CWRU tuition may feel astronomical at times, and it is, if it is only used for getting a degree. But this is all about putting things into perspective. We have plenty of resources to take advantage of, so let’s embrace that.