There is just never enough money to go around. Ever. It is especially depressing when you are getting all the federal aid you can, and you still find yourself struggling. It’s the stuff grown men cry about.
It often helps to look on the bright side. As far as four-year universities are concerned, CSUN has got to be one of the least expensive institutions in the state. But paying for inexpensive college tuition is still going to run you thousands of dollars.
So you do the smart thing-get all your lower division requirements handled at a junior college like Pierce, Moorpark, or Valley-or maybe you don’t. This helps you get used to a brand new world of “everything costs money.” I’d imagine most of you reading this have already had that introduction-hurts don’t it?
The first time you have to buy your own scantron for an exam, you are almost certain that you will fail. The idea is absolutely brutal.
Whether you started off at a junior college or not, the point is that you are struggling now. If you’re very lucky, your prayer to the FAFSA (that’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the acronym) gods will be answered. This should take the bite out of the cost of tuition-but that is hardly the problem.
Tuition, living expenses, gas (ugh) and food bills are all things that the current generation of college goers have come to expect to pay for in excess-we’ve accumulated some record breaking debt in the process too.
Oddly enough, these are the complaints that are commonly pushed to the back of the mind, with a shrug and a debit card. What is really annoying, painful and sometimes unacceptable is the way the average college student seems to be nickel and dimed to financial death.
Force me to buy one textbook for over $100 shame on you. Force me to buy $500 or more worth of textbooks in a single semester? and say goodbye to lunch for a few months. It has gotten to the point where the “Two-Weeks” rule has become necessary. You play your hand at surviving in a class for two, perhaps three weeks, and if you haven’t needed the textbook yet, you run a fair chance of not needing it at all. You run the gamble of having to pay attention in class and hope that is enough.
Don’t forget that costly parking permit either. Well over $200 gone so you can park six stories up, if there is room. With the number of students forking over that kind of cash, you’d expect there to be some kind of hidden cost in maintaining these giant stone structures-and maybe there is. Maybe Parking Enforcement just gets paid really well-either way, my wallet is less than understanding.
Graduating soon? Congratulations. That’ll be another $20 (processing fee, or something) for the Upper Division Writing Requirement exam-don’t get sick or be late the day of the test as refunds are inconvenient and unattainable. And get $50 ready for turning in your Graduation Check forms, so you can actually get your degree-because paying for the classes, well, that’s not enough. Oh, and if you do your Grad Check late, and there’s a fair chance you will, an extra $10 for the bureaucratic inconvenience is the price you pay.
This brings us to Cap ‘ Gown: the very epitome of the word “graduate.” It’ll probably be the last thing you pay for in pursuit of any given degree. It represents achievement, and calls for a sense of dignified celebration.
And I’m going to pass on it. It’s not that I don’t care-it’s just that I’m a big fan of paying my bills on time. There has got to be a way to save students money. There has got to be SOME corner we can cut when it comes to forms, and the tests, and the parking passes, that allows a cheaper bottom line for us who desperately need it.