For students who are already burdened with the cost of tuition and rent, the last thing they want to think about is an awaiting list of even more fees.
We usually anticipate paying for tuition, class fees and books, but it is easy to forget about the smaller expenses that can add up. You’ll need supplies like pencils and paper for note taking, furnishings for your dorm, and if you drive to campus, it’s guaranteed that you’ll need a parking pass. These costs are easily overlooked, and when it boils down to it, if you’re anything like me, you may have gone way over what you’d expected to spend before the first week was even over.
When I began my freshman year, the extra costs were like a slap to the face. Did I really have to purchase a $100 access code for a class that I was already paying for, or $200 for a book that I’d probably never touch after the semester ended? I couldn’t believe my eyes. If the university had warned me about the additional expenses before the semester started, I could’ve been better prepared. Dealing with the pressure of moving and starting school was already enough; I didn’t need the added stress.
Dixie State University should better inform its students of other expenses besides tuition that may be incurred. On the main tuition and fees page of the website, there is no mention of other possible expenses. If you do a little digging, you may find the outdated page listing budget and cost information for the 2016 to 2017 school year.
If DSU provided an estimated cost of materials under each course description in the catalog or on myDixie, it would help students be better prepared. Budget and cost information cannot be lumped into generalized categories because the cost of supplies and course fees vary from course to course. The budget of an art student who must pay for various art tools and supplies will be different than the budget of a psychology student. A simple list of approximate prices for access codes, textbooks, and course fees per class would help enormously. If I could add up how much each of my classes would cost, I’d know how much to save up over the summer.
The university does partner with St. George and the Washington County School District to offer Community Education at DSU. Community Education offers non-credit courses to the community, including a few classes on financial success. These classes offer a great opportunity to learn what to do in financial crisis, how to prevent it, and how to better plan out finances.
A mandatory seminar on budgeting for freshman may help students be better prepared for the financial burdens of college. DSU should mandate a class prior to entering college to equip its students with the knowledge they need to tackle their finances. Students often take a year or more off from college because it ended up costing more than they planned for and they can no longer afford it. Not everyone has older siblings or parents to tell them what to expect; so it’s up to DSU if it wants to retain its students, to make sure people know what they’re getting into.
Now that I’m in my third year, I’ve gotten a little more used to all the extra expenses, but I still feel stunned as I watch my bank account balance drop lower and lower at the start of each semester. I remember how painful it was to experience that as a freshman, but just know that you’re not alone.