College is expensive. This is normal. TCU is exorbitant. That is not.
Tuition has been hiked twice since I arrived two years ago.
With a marked increase in the price of meal plans ($1,200 per semester last academic year to $1,799 this semester for the minimum plan), and more expensive dormitories becoming prevalent ($3,450 per bedroom per semester for a four-bedroom suite in Wright Hall), working class collegians like myself are beginning to feel the strain.
My dad has been forced to take a third job in a radon mine in order to pay for my opinion writing class.
My mother, once a gentle socialite from Connecticut, now performs contract hits for the Haitian government to pay for my housing.
My niece and nephew are running around the streets of downtown Houston as we speak performing Gypsy swindling tricks on unsuspecting oilmen to pay for my meal plan.
I sleep in fear every night that TCU’s secret paramilitary force, the Purple People Eaters, will commandeer my meager belongings and pawn them to feed coffers of the university.
The total cost per year to attend TCU these days is roughly the same as the GDP of French Guiana, or according to a cost estimate on TCU’s Web site, $37,380 for the 2008-2009 academic year. Scholarships and other forms of aid are not factored in.
That is a lot of money.
What else could you buy with the money it costs to spend a year at TCU? Would it be an earth-shattering amount? Will I stop asking questions? Yes.
For the sake of simplicity, all prices mentioned hereafter will not be adjusted to include tax. I have the math skills of a third grader and using percentages would probably cause my medulla oblongata to explode.
Let’s say I sponsor a 10-year-old child named Ronaldo from Brazil through the Christian Children’s Fund. With $37,380, and at the going rate of 80 cents per day, I could sponsor Ronaldo through his 138th birthday.
With a year’s cost of attending TCU, I could buy three base model Kia Rios and have an underground, to-the-death demolition derby with my roommates. Not only that, but I would have $2,760 of hush money left over to pay the cops with when they find out about my highly illegal tournament.
Let’s say you want to eat on the cheap to save yourself some scratch for a trip to Cancun. Provided you have access to the coveted “10 for $1 deal” on Top Ramen noodles, the numbers are scary.
If each package of noodles costs 10 cents and you eat three packages a day, you would be fed for the next 341 years for the price of one year at TCU. Granted you would probably die of a massive heart attack after about two weeks on Dr. Hall’s high-sodium/high-fat/high-noodle/low-cost diet, but the principle remains.
A College Board study revealed that the average tuition for private, nonprofit four-year schools rose 6.3 percent for the 2007-2008 academic year. With an 8 percent hike for the same period, TCU is well above its contemporaries in raising the cost of an education.
If anyone in the science department knows how to change lead into gold, now would be a good time to tell me. I have a bunch of old pencils waiting to pay my tuition.
Until then, I’ll be working the hoot owl shift at the radon mine.
David Hall is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood.