With previous appearances from stars like Biggie Smalls, Foxy Brown, Drake, and more, Howard University’s Homecoming has become a sure event for students to attend during the homecoming season. But this season left a different feeling amongst students. Many had to choose between spending their last to attend or not go at all due to event ticket prices.
This year’s Howard Homecoming held many activities. These included, having a student led fashion show, divine nine step show, and star studded performances on the yard. Now this was all cool, but it came at a price. Prices increased from previous years’ events. Event ticket prices ranged from $25 – $60 for general admission and $20 – $40 for students. Our students were left to bear the burden of homecoming events and its infeasibility.
Student Body Perspective
“This was my first time paying for anything homecoming related at Howard and it absolutely was not feasible. If you wanted to go to all of the paid events at Howard it would cost you around $100” shared Nylah Lee, a senior journalism major at Howard University. “If we attend a school and pay an activity fee every year, that doesn’t make any sense. This is especially for students who aren’t able to work because of their classes or have expenses outside of school.”
Students like Alexandria Allen, a senior education major echoed Lee’s sentiments. She expressed the difficulty of paying ticket prices for events while being a full time student who works. “This was not my first time paying, however it was a lot harder because we had to pay for more. I also was not able to work nearly as much because Howard requires me to complete an unpaid internship that is 40 hours a week” said Allen.
From parental help, to extra shifts, students were able to find ways to pay for events.
But some of them were left to miss out. This inability to participate soured student participation in future homecoming events. “Students will participate in less the more they have to pay,” shared Allen. “We do not all come from affluent families, therefore it is hard to include so many extra costs to our budget.”
The pricing of homecoming events left more than a dent in student’s pockets.
Howard is on the heels of a 7.5% tuition increase from $28,450 to $30,584 for the 2022 – 2023 academic year. With the increase in homecoming event prices, this also sparked conversations of elitism, and classism. “ The conversation at Howard that surrounds elitism and classism is definitely evidenced by the cost of activities at Howard, ” stated Lee. “There are a lot of opportunities and activities that a lot of people would say make the Howard experience, and homecoming is one of them. Students, particularly underclassmen who have heavier course loads may not necessarily have access to funds that a lot of working students may have. I don’t feel like it’s fair that a student who isn’t as financially well off as another student shouldn’t be able to enjoy their college experience.”
In all, while the season provided a much needed time for jubilation, alumni events, and HBCU unity, students urged messages of change to Howard’s administration and rallying action toward their fellow students.
“I would tell the administration to take into account the entire student body, as well as students who have less resources than others,” said Allen. “If we can do activities outside of what the university would have us pay for, we can really hit them where it hurts. Because none of these opportunities are even possible without students. The students and alumni are what make homecoming.” shared Nylah.
Eshe is a senior media journalism and film major at Howard University. She is a staunch advocate for equality for all people and seeks for her work to aid in that effort. Checkout more of her endeavors here.