The hidden cost of our courses: If you’re richer, you’ll get a better mark
Books, resources, printing, it all adds up
Of course, no amount of money can buy you a new brain, but an infinite amount of money at University inevitably funds more studying materials.
We’ve all felt the pinch as the cost of living is constantly increasing, unlike our maintenance loans.
Without question, we shell out our pounds to print off work, get new stationary or pay up for our never-ending reading lists.
But why do we settle for this hard-bargain when the University is a multi-million pound institution with an annual turnover of over £400 million a year, charging us £9,000 a year for essentially, a piece of paper we worked for.
The Tab spoke to a number of students, who are constantly crumbling under the financial pressures of their course.
One second year student spoke of wasting £50 on a dictionary that wasn’t even used: “Vulnerable first years are told to spend money on super expensive dictionaries (I spent £50 on a Portuguese dictionary) that we never even use because it’s all online!”
Shannon Sarussi, third year law student, also commented on the steep costs of text books, which she heavily relies on for her course: “If I bought every recommended text book I would have probably spent about £300.
“Are we really expected to have that amount of cash for books we’ll never really use again? Couldn’t the library get more copies? We are paying £9,000 for fuck sake.”
Admittedly, all students at the University have access to an extensive collection of materials at two libraries however books that are essential to courses get lent out or reserved quickly, leaving students with no other option but to purchase their own. And what about the students that cannot access materials they need for their course free of cost?
Benga Ibidunni, a third year student spoke about his steep extra costs: “I spend a lot of money on materials, close to £20 on every visit to the art shop, sometimes more and that is at least 4 times a term.”
But it’s not just trips to the art shop that crunch Bengas’ finances. Printing projects for his work also sets him back: “Printing costs a lot – close to £10 per sheet of A1.”
Architecture Student Robert says since starting his course last year he has spent hundreds:
“I have pretty much spent about £200 on extra materials. That isn’t even a lot though compared to other people on my course, I’d say some spend double that.”
Another second year student, Rebecca Fausset, spoke of the stress and anxiety she faces when she cannot afford to purchase materials for her compulsory projects: “You need about £30 just to make an average looking model, so if I’m really broke its hard to scrape it together.
“If someone has more money they can buy whatever they want – they don’t have to worry. The financial pressure is lifted and they can buy more materials for their projects – it can definitely give an advantage.”
Stuart Gemmell, a first year Engineering student at John Moores university, spoke to The Tab about how he balances out his finances: “University is expensive but at least we get some free printing credits here at JM, and a free gym membership. I reckon it saves me up to around £200 a year.”
The general consensus seems that the more money a student has, the more potential they have for a better standard of work, and therefore a higher grade.
Surely the university, a beacon of education, should make it as easy as possible for students to overcome financial hardships?
Somewhere along the line it seems, somebody forgot that it is actually the students who are the infrastructure of a university – without us, there is no university. So why are we always the ones to suffer financial hardships?
Now, this is just an idea – but how about sacking off unruly, greedy members of staff in the higher echelons of power within our university and monitoring the way they drain the funds of our university?
Maybe we could use all of the money saved from this process to subsidize the ever-increasing costs of our courses, printing and other course materials?