How Howard University Students Took Charge Of Their Financial Future

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With Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” as their soundtrack, Howard students, led by the group HU Resist, staged a successful nine-day sit in outside the financial aid offices.

Howard University ended up agreeing to seven of their nine demands — a huge success!

One of their nine demands was to freeze undergraduate tuition rates at current levels.

According to S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Laura Kuffler-Macdonald, “The university has a history of uneven financial performance with significant operating deficits.”

The university recently started requiring that students have a zero balance to register for classes or pay a third of their outstanding bill and be enrolled in a payment plan — and with tuition at $43k, that is a pretty tall order.

The decision came down hard on some low-income students, but school officials pegged it as a necessary step toward financial stability, creating a tense relationship between Howard students and staff.

After years of increasing costs and tuition hikes, this freeze is a needed win for Howard students.

The other 6 actions the university promised to take include:
– reviewing the school’s sexual assault policy,
– creating a food bank,
– reexamining on-campus housing for students, and
– a review of policies allowing campus police officers to carry weapons.

It’s clear: These students are determined to take control.

Through the sit-in, they are enabling themselves to take over their financial future and their college experience, and it’s getting results. It’s so inspiring to see students take action by holding the institutions who are supposed to help them accountable.

There’s a long and complex history of academic institutions doing wrong by their students when it comes to finances. Whether it’s lying about post-grad job placement rates, hiding the true cost of attendance at their school, or surprising them with an outstanding balance of thousands after graduation, some colleges and universities can be notoriously shady.

This is why committing to financial transparency is essential for colleges everywhere.

And not just because they’ll feel the wrath of their students (and the internet), but because it’s simply the right thing to do.

This is a message to students everywhere: you don’t have to feel hopeless when it comes to your right to access higher education. There are things you can do to make a positive change in your community.

For example, staging a sit-in proved to be an effective way to peacefully protest and get the university’s attention. Having an organized list of demands gave the students and faculty a way to clearly communicate about what needed to change. And the activists’ unwavering nine-day dedication sealed the deal.

If you want to explore the financial transparency of your college, Howard University Resist can show you how.