Northcentral Tuition Increase
** This petition will be sent to the dean(s) on 7/15. **
On July 1, 2015, we received notification that the tuition pricing for the dissertation courses will be rising in September. Although enrolling in DIS 5 and beyond was more than many of us expected to pay for when we began the program, at least those were only one credit courses, meaning that our tuition money was reduced.
NCU listed some benefits in the email that are nice, assuming that we have the time to participate in such events and that the dissertation chairs abide by the revised dissertation handbook, but the biggest issue, the response time, is not in that list. Despite being required to send in check-ins every 7 calendar days, our chairs have 21 business days to return milestone documents. That means, on average, we receive three reviews per course, and our chairs have over three times the amount of time that we do to communicate with us. That alone hinders completion. Also since dissertation chairs now hold all of the power--including what they want to see in the dissertation, even if it violates what is included in the template/handbook--the other resources that the school offers are largely unhelpful to doctoral students. In order to graduate, we must do what our chairs want us to do which may or may not be similar to what the university documents state.
Furthermore, the university continues to sell the changes like this as “completing a timely dissertation and earning your degree,” but if you were truly committed to having us complete a timely dissertation and complete our degrees, you would put the tuition money to good use, investing in more full-time dissertation chairs so that you could lower the response times. Specifically all dissertation chairs, too, should be required to send feedback within 7 calendar days. Otherwise, at certain points in this process, we are left floundering about because we do not have the feedback necessary to make progress. If the response times for dissertation chairs matched what we are required to do (7 calendar days), while we might pay the full price for four dissertation courses, we would have the chance at completing our degrees without needing DIS 5 and beyond. We could also reconcile paying the additional tuition money with the fact that we would receive timely feedback, something that is absolutely critical to complete a “timely dissertation.”
Therefore, we request that you reconsider the tuition increase or offer us the resources, namely in the form of weekly feedback from our dissertation chairs on all milestone documents, to allow us to achieve our goals.