Campus LifeOpinion

Opinion: College costs crush confidence

If there’s anything that gets under my fingernails, it’s unnecessary costs. Some, like taxes, are something we generally hold disdain for as we feel like that money is wasted or irresponsibly used.

However, we pay them anyway — after all, they’re taxes and everyone must pay them to support public utilities and other services. The money we give the government — at least, to a small degree — is returned to us in the form of infrastructure, defense, public utilities and so forth. However, when it comes to higher education, the allocation of funds becomes vaguer. It has become a source of debate as to why college tuition has risen so much over the past couple decades. Many simply state that due to inflation coupled with a rising cost of education, many U.S. students have become inundated with debt. Part of this is due to many financial transactions that don’t make any sense or just don’t seem like they serve a significant financial benefit.

One financial interaction that’s always irritating is requesting an official transcript from your university. The only significant difference between an official and unofficial transcript is that an official one costs a fee to send to another university — aside from that, it contains basically the same information an unofficial one does. What is even the purpose of charging someone for an electronic file to be sent when you own an almost exact copy? Why can’t the student themselves access an official copy? The meaning behind this redundancy continues to elude me.

Another such case would be printing. Who would have thought that a school with such prestige as ours would still charge us for filler paper? While I understand the necessity of charging for something that is always in need, one would think that it would be charged as a utility or covered by tuition. Many don’t realize how prestigious our own university system is, boasting one of the largest schools of medicine facilities in the country and hosting some of the most well-known collegiate sports teams. It seems somewhat questionable that such a large and well-regarded university would have difficulties covering basic costs.

A larger part of the current university cost/debt issue is the lack of financial disclosure. While many universities have easy to access financial records of current spending and future financial projections, some do not go into detail as to how their income is spent.

In short, I don’t mind tuition costs or parking costs or any other charges that are made to directly fund and advance my education. However, it seems like universities seem to get a pass when it comes to fiscal accountability.