Nothing comes cheap anymore

By on September 16, 2009

Books, printing, eating; higher education seems to become increasingly creative in their attempts to scam students.

When I think back on it, I put way too much trust in Quinnipiac my freshman year. I bought every single textbook from the bookstore’s Web site and left all of those “recommended items” checked. I let it slide when those bar charts went completely unused and I had no way of returning them. And somehow I allowed myself to sell back a book for $50 when I had purchased it for three times as much. Yet everyone has their breaking point, and for me that was when I discovered the book needed to be purchased again, full price, for another class. That’s when I lost my allegiance to the bookstore.

Fortunately, one of my fellow business majors was smarter than I and kept that God-forsaken Bible-sized book, and I evolved and discovered Amazon.com and the wonderful Half.com. It was great being able to get a book marked for $200 down to $80. My favorite discovery was that the $20 books really have a value of around 75 cents. However, Quinnipiac is not unaware of a student’s ability to buy elsewhere. I believe that is why universities birthed the idea of the package – a vacuum-sealed textbook that has a CD and a packet with a “special code” for that CD. The package makes it extremely difficult to buy online for two reasons: it’s virtually impossible to find all three items and it is usually a brand new edition. I fear that universities have the intelligence of a disease, building up immunities and finding other ways to kill you.

Exhibit A: paying for printing. This was a fun e-mail to read this summer. I understand that we were given reasons and a heads up, but really? I have a hard time imagining the decision makers of Quinnipiac all getting together and punching the numbers and somehow coming to the conclusion that 5 cents per page was the answer. They said it was to help with scholarships, but not everyone gets scholarships. It seemed like everyone used to print from the library. It’s a little like paying taxes to me.

And here is an oldie but goodie: having a mandatory meal plan. Everyone jokes about how girls have to buy meals for their guy friends to use up their meal points, but I don’t see how having to rush to throw away your money is very humorous. Even freshmen and sophomores who probably eat many meals on campus rarely use their points up. But that’s the charm of it; you don’t actually have to ever eat at the café to have a meal plan.

Maybe Quinnipiac just doesn’t want anyone to feel left out, because even students with kitchens have to put $500 toward meal money. Why would they opt for a kitchen if they craved $500 worth of café cuisine? I feel like that money could just as easily go toward the groceries the students would like to keep in their kitchen.

Yet the moral of my article is not to bash Quinnipiac. Like it or not, a university is a business and it has to do whatever it can to stay afloat especially in times like these. I only suggest that you learn from my freshman shadow and be aware. Compare book prices, bring your printer from home, and keep your Nalgene full. Accept these small changes as a challenge to your own creativity.

Comments

About Lindsay Roberts