Since tuition is set to increase to $30,000 for the 2010-2011 school year, students are going to have to be more creative with how they pay for their tuition. While it is beneficial to get a summer job or practice saving money during the year, I think it’s time we reinvigorate a time-honored tradition: bartering.
Frankly, I can’t afford the $30,000 next year, even with my scholarship and a summer job. But I don’t want to disrespect the education I’m receiving by not paying my bills. So when the first bill drops in my account, I plan to visit Chancellor Victor Boschini in his office and bring him my tuition deposit personally. He accepts cows as payment, right?
If not, I’m sure I can get a hold of a chicken or two. Times are tough though. He might have to make do with a pair of slightly-used tennis shoes and my good word that I will get TCU my tuition payment as soon as the next farmers market opens.
In my mind, bartering is a tradition that faded away unnecessarily with the advent of coinage. Even as the great empires of the world expanded, and with them the use of a standardized coin, bartering is a practice that remained. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. You let me copy your notes from class, and I won’t tell your parents exactly how drunk you were at the last tailgate. It’s a fair (mostly) and often interesting exchange.
Another benefit of bartering is determining what others value beyond money. Sure, cold hard cash makes the rest of your unappealing Christmas presents seem a little more bearable, but why settle for cash when you can have a pair of handmade socks from your grandmother, fresh off the knitting needles? How about making someone else a meal in exchange for help studying? Supposing you can cook, this is a pretty sweet deal.
While it’s not quite as fair anymore to trade your daughter for a fresh plot of land, there are many benefits to bartering. It can, in fact, increase the breadth of our education and the university should support it.
So, chancellor, where should I put this cow?
Libby Davis is a junior news-editorial journalism and history major from Coppell.