What is my tuition paying for, anyway?

Dan Rice

Dan Rice
Dan Rice

I’m a senior here at CSU, and I’ve heard the refrain many times that college is overpriced and only getting worse. This is a complaint I’ve heard from students, parents, and even friends my age who don’t go to college because it’s too pricey.

I can’t help but understand where they’re coming from. I can afford college primarily because of about $50,000 worth of college loans I’ve received from my bank and FAFSA, and in small part because of the College Opportunity Fund for in-state students. Right now, that number seems insurmountable. $50,000? That’s about how much money I make in four or five years at my current job. Granted, one hopes that their college education will result in a better job that will quickly pay down those loans before interest rates make things worse, but it sure is daunting from the perspective of a senior graduating in the spring who’s about to face the music.

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I’m not really expecting this article to change how much I’m paying for college. However, as much as I appreciate the heartwarming video Tony Frank posted on Ramweb regarding where my tuition money is going, what I would greatly appreciate is an honest-to-goodness, legitimate, complete breakdown of where every dollar of my money is going to be posted somewhere. Anywhere. There are tons of things that my tuition pays for that I wasn’t even aware of until my senior year, and now I’m just wishing I’d known about them all along. College is expensive and it’s probably going to remain expensive, but I’d sure feel better about it if I was aware of all of the benefits I get out of it.

There are several things I’ve discovered over the years. My tuition pays for help at the Writing Center; workouts at the Rec Center; copies of The New York Times, among other publications (like The Collegian, of course); access to public transit in Fort Collins, as inadequate as it is; computer rentals at the library; and, while tuition doesn’t directly affect this, CSU students get exclusive access to jobs like mine at The Collegian and some pretty nice discounts at several local restaurants and businesses. I’m sure there are tons of things missing on that list, too. The problem is that I didn’t take advantage of several of these things until recently because I didn’t know I could.

There’s a distinct possibility that I’m just oblivious, of course, because I tend to wile away my hours in coffee shops writing essays, Collegian articles and my own creative stories. But if I’m paying for all of these things, I’d greatly appreciate being aware of it. Maybe this list already exists, but if it is, it clearly isn’t in plain sight like the countless people shoving their flyers, opinions, and declarations of impending doom in my face by the Lory Student Center.

If any faculty or the powers that be read this article, I’d love to hear back. Maybe if this list is somewhere to be found, college won’t sound like such a raw deal.

Collegian Columnist Dan Rice can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @danriceman.