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Published:February 9th, 2006 06:39 EST
The Rising Costs Of College: One Student's View

The Rising Costs Of College: One Student's View

By Laurie Salem

Editor notes: This article is a critical look at the rising costs of college as students across the nation face expenditures that seem to rise on a yearly basis for fees, books, and other things. It is written by SOP newcomer Laurie Salem.

It is a cold Monday morning, and Coppin State University is welcoming the students onto her grounds. Many are still trying to get their class schedules together, having missed the deadlines for a variety of reasons. Those who have their schedules in order, however, are lined up in the bookstore, hustling and bustling to get necessary school supplies. It appears almost like the holidays; shoppers of all sizes, backgrounds and races are shuffling in and out of aisles, hoping to get the best for a reasonable amount of money. However, it soon proves that these hopes are blowing in the icy winds that met them at the foot of the campus grounds.

I had the opportunity to be a cashier in this bookstore, during a period known as "Rush". This is the first few weeks in a semester when students have crowded into the store to buy text books and supplies. This is also the time when these same students who partied over the holidays and spent their dollars whithout a care have come to appreciate the value of a dollar. Each day, there were groans and sighs from the rear of the store where the books were stored, because a student found out how much a book costs.

Some of the most expensive majors are nursing, mathematics, and criminal justice, averaging about $100 per book. This price does not include other essentials like pens and notebooks and highlighters. Even those students enrolled in classes not thought to be so expensive, gripe about spending $60 on a book no bigger  than a menu at a restaurant.

What makes these prices  that much more outrageous is the fact that many students pay out of pocket for them. Many have a bank account that has been gouged because of the bills for textbooks. Those who are lucky enough to have financial aid can gush about book vouchers, which pays for a portion of their books. Yet, even still, there are times when the book vouchers are not enough.

And in the face of these current prices, tuition and other fees continue to rise. And as I stared into the eyes of each of these students and swiped their credit cards or took their money, I sympathized with them because I am a student too, and it would not  be long before I was standing right where they are.