By: Paris Quintanilla 

SAN ANTONIO-  On Nov. 18, 2021 Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) announced an increase in tuition for the 2022-2023 academic school year bringing tuition to $15,100 per semester. 

Undergraduate and graduate students faced a sudden 4% increase in tuition. Students will also have to pay a 2% increase in residence hall rates and meal plans.

Source: Collegefactual.com

Some OLLU students may find it difficult to pay the newly implemented upcharges amid the pandemic, as many struggle to find a job or are unable to keep one.

“What is really hurting us (OLLU) now is the economy and the inflation rates have been increasing,” Vice President for Finance and Facilities, Anthony Turrietta said.

The pandemic has caused noticeable inflation in prices throughout the country. Inflation has caused utility bills to increase and food suppliers to raise their prices. OLLU has had to raise tuition and food prices to keep up with costs. 

“We realize that the financial burden is going to be hard for quite a few students,” Turrietta said. 

The increase in tuition and food costs may make it difficult for students to stretch their money further. It may be a concern, especially for students living on campus without access to a vehicle, as they have to depend on the university’s services and food. 

“Before COVID-19, we (OLLU) would offer guidance on stretching out the dining dollars and that has kind of taken a back seat but I will ask them (OLLU) to resume that in conjunction with student affairs,” Turrieta said.

The price increase makes students question how much of that money will be used to improve services on campus.

“Whenever we raise tuition on the students we do it with the understanding that some of that money is going to go back to helping the students or putting some improvements that they want,” Turrieta said. 

Enhancements OLLU plans to bring with the money from the tuition increase will include new recreational areas and additional mental health counseling.

Because of the pandemic, students could not socialize as they would under normal circumstances. With the extra tuition money, OLLU plans to create areas where students can safely come together again. 

“We are working with an architect to improve the outside areas around the dorms…We are working on a plan to create socializing areas,” Turietta said. 

The pandemic has also impacted students’ mental health. OLLU recognizes that stress, anxiety, and depression can negatively affect students’ academic performance, so they intend to offer more support to help students get back on track. 

“COVID has been very, very difficult for people mentally. So we’re looking at bringing in some more counseling assistance that falls under the vice president of student affairs,” Turrietta said. 

Despite new improvements, students may still face financial difficulties. 

“Any student that is running low on money, dining dollars, or can’t pay the remainder of their bill can contact my office or contact Dr. Williams who is the VP of student affairs. Let someone know and we can find resources for students to allow them to continue their schooling,” Turietta said. 

Through OLLU, students can find financial solutions to help them meet their funding needs. These include OLLU Payment Plans, Education Loans (federal, state, and private), Graduate Assistantships, Military Benefits, and outside scholarships that the university assists students with searching and applying for. 

Through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund or CARES Act, OLLU has opened its final application for emergency funds. In addition to tuition balance payments, students may apply for funds to cover emergency expenses such as food, housing, health care, and child care.

The CARES act application will be open until Feb. 28, 2022.

For more information, contact Mr. Turietta aeturrietta@ollusa.edu or Dr. George Williams at gawilliams6@ollusa.edu. 


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