After a student shared a screenshot of rising tuition costs — originally posted on USC's Financial Aid website — USC students took to social media to discuss the idea that tuition will rise by nearly $3,000 for the upcoming school year. The rate for tuition by itself was an average of $49,464 in the 2015-16 academic year, and the upcoming year is predicted to reach $51,442.

Screengrab from USC’s Financial Aid site.
Screengrab from USC’s Financial Aid site.

Solomon Lee is a freshman at USC and personally feels the pressure of the increase.

"I feel like it's already high as it is. I get financial aid because my parents can't really help me. They can't afford to help me," Lee said.

The numbers on USC's Financial Aid site give general details about the allocation of student costs, but no specific information as to where the additional funds are going.

"It would be nice if the [school] communicated with students better," says Tiffany Hoseini, a junior who does not receive financial aid and will feel the full impact of the rising costs of tuition.

Undergraduate Student Government President Rini Sampath responded to the tuition hike on Facebook.

“Last semester, we put out a survey to the student body gauging their interest in a tuition freeze and the need for greater financial transparency from our administration after hearing heartbreaking stories of student debt. An overwhelming number of students agreed a tuition freeze would alleviate their financial burden and that it was necessary to halt the yearly tuition hikes to promote college affordability.”

Rini Sampath, USG President

She noted that USG representatives brought student concerns to university administrators, but wrote that they "went nowhere."

"Tuition is simply skyrocketing. If you look at how costs are progressing now it is understandable why students are skipping meals, starting Go Fund Me's and having a hard time paying for their expenses here," Sampath said.

According to Sampath, the 55-member Board of Trustees of the university is the governing body on tuition decisions.

"As USG President, I've had the pleasure of meeting many of our trustees. I know they care deeply about the welfare of our students. I have seen their empathy firsthand; many of them are philanthropists who fund the scholarships and programs which put our students through school," she wrote in her post.

"However, I do believe there is a disconnect between our Board and the needs of the student community."

She says in order to slow or stop tuition hikes, there has to be dialogue between students and trustees.

"If we can bridge the gap between the Board of Trustees and and the student community and we have student representation, I think we can address the root of the problem."

"It would be nice if the [school] communicated with students better," says Tiffany Hoseini, a junior who does not receive financial aid and will feel the full impact of the rising costs of tuition.

USC Provost Michael Quick addressed the reasoning behind the tuition increase stating: "Tuition increases at USC using 5-year averages are at their lowest in 50 years — over the last five years tuition has increased an average of 4% annually. The University has made great strides in limiting the tuition increases to maintain affordability, while increasing services to students."

The financial aid office says it has not made any change's to next year's financial aid or scholarships at this time.

Reach Staff Reporter Gray Baker here.

Reach Executive Editor Martha Daniel here.