Editorial: More money, more problems
As high school graduates looking for colleges and completing their application list, many students consider Lehigh. The university boasted exciting academic opportunities and outstanding extracurricular activities. Tours show an excellent location and a beautiful, spacious campus.
Lehigh also scores consistently high in the country’s “best universities” rankings from educational media such as US News.
Anything presented to a budding student suggests that the next four years in Lehigh will be the best four years.
As current Lehigh students, can we still say that these tempting promises have been kept?
Lehigh was recently ranked 49th on US News 2022 Best National Universities List – from almost 400 universities. Lehigh was also placed 29th in the Best Value Colleges and 13th in the Best Undergraduate Teaching category.
These rankings are determined by several factors. Forty percent of the scores are based on post-graduation results, 20 percent on faculty resources, and another 20 percent on “expert opinion” – including a peer review.
The other 10 percent is split between student excellence (high school class rank, SAT and ACT scores) and alumni donations.
Since 80 percent of the score is determined by factors other than the students’ opinion, these rankings are primarily an outside perspective. If students were to decide these rankings, it is questionable whether Lehigh would rank anywhere near that high.
It wasn’t just sunshine and rainbows inside. Experience has shown that this highly valued value is not necessarily available this year.
With an annual tuition fee of over $ 70,000, the university presents a high financial barrier to entry that students are willing to overcome in order to attend Lehigh. Often, however, we wonder where the university’s resources go – and whether they benefit students at all.
While COVID-19 is a factor, many student campus resources are inefficiently used while the university holds on to its stance that we are back.
Almost a month after the start of the semester there is only takeaway food. Taylor Gym has a strict capacity with severely limited hours. The health and wellness center is closed on weekends and appointments for both COVID-19 tests are limited. The advice center remains 100 percent virtual, with no personal appointments to support the students.
Amid the pandemic, Lehigh has still put money into planning large in-person events while campus resources struggle.
Students cannot enjoy food in Rathbone, but they can a Concert by Fetty Wap hosted in the front yard, packed with hundreds of students.
Students struggle to schedule a COVID-19 test at the Health and Wellness Center, but high school students considering Lehigh can experience a full personal tour.
Students may not experience the full benefits of therapy and exercise – two things that are critical to student psychological wellbeing.
Lehigh goes to little effort to further open up and improve the resources that are important to us.
The tuition fee does not flow back to the student body, but to things that Lehigh present as “the place to be” for outsiders and potential students.
The current students should enjoy their time here without the university’s deficits constantly presenting themselves.
Lehigh should be viewed as a desirable institution to visit, there is no doubt that our school has a variety of unique academic programs and Lehigh alumni are successful in their field.
Lehigh doesn’t realize that we’re not just studying and taking classes here – we live here.
As insiders, we don’t even scratch the surface of the satisfaction on campus. Meanwhile, the university is turning its attention to outsiders looking for more money – money that isn’t being spent on current students.
The experience the students are currently getting doesn’t feel like the 29th at best value.
How could Lehigh be proud of this ranking if the majority of students disagreed?
The focus is entirely on money and the outsider perspective, rather than real happiness and well-being of the students. Lehigh needs to focus on and care for his current students first.