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It’s a new beginning this week in both Alaska and the United States.

This past week saw two mainstays of American democracy take place: On Friday, the peaceful transfer of power, when President Barack Obama stepped down and Donald Trump was sworn in as president, and on Saturday, the right to protest peacefully.

Monica C. Kintana, 90, died Jan. 13, 2017, in Ketchikan.
School costs

No wonder the cost of college and university tuition is sky high.

Universities — including Alaska's — are in the midst of a housing boom, while the federal government is trying to ease students' challenge of repaying education loans.

In light of the cost of acquiring a diploma after high school, the government might remind universities that it requires cooperation in its efforts to deal with costs/loans.

Aging residence halls are being replaced with others fully outfitted for new technology and the comforts demanded by students.

These aren't the cramped, but perfectly sufficient, dormitories of the past. They are equipped to handle laptops, smartphones, Wi-Fi connectivity and all that is needed for that.

Additionally, some of the halls include cafes and gaming rooms. Communal bathrooms are being replaced with more facilities for fewer students.

This means 52 new residence halls at private and public schools to accommodate 19,000 students for a building cost of $2 billion, according to The Associated Press.

The University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau hopes to retain students by building a $15 million dormitory in a community where housing is limited and expensive.

New facilities mean increased costs to students. Instead of paying $6,800 per year at Wichita State for a dormitory room, the cost per student will be between $10,000 and $12,000.

Regardless of how good the reasons to build, it helps to explain why the cost of a degree is higher — students want better accommodations while in school. That's fine as long as they also want to pay for them.