Surprise course expenses stress students

Published by adviser, Author: Alexa Merbler - Commentary, Date: January 29, 2015

Everyone knows that textbooks are expensive. Students dread looking at their syllabi and the bookstore website to discover how much money they are going to have to spend on a textbook they are going to use once. What may be worse than the cost of textbooks are the “surprise” costs about which the student may not have been aware before classes started. 

After budgeting for and spending approximately $300 on required textbooks this semester, I thought that my required expenses were complete. I had been carefully saving and budgeting my money for the duration of winter break and, by the time my books were paid for and classes started, I had a whopping $3.56 in my bank account. 

I walked into classes Tuesday morning confident with my abilities for this semester, but quickly my pre-semester high was deflated. In my first class there was a required attendance app that cost $20. In my second class I need to purchase at least $50 worth of supplies. Yet another class requires a book that was not listed with the other books for this semester. I am sure I am not alone in finding that I need to scrape together more then $100 to pay for these mandatory expenses. 

Now, I am not asking professors to not request these things for classes. What I am requesting is if professors are going to require students to purchase supplies to aid our learning experiences, let us know before the semester starts. Many of us are living on a very tight budget and cannot spend $100 easily. It would take a lot of stress off students if we could have a clear idea of what extra expenses a class requires before classes start.  



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