High price tag, hefty value

by KC Stanfield , Assistant Opinion Editor


ith the controversy regarding the Student Success Fee last spring, the word “fee” has left a bad taste in the mouths of many students. Now that the initial heat of the moment is in the past—and the reoccurring fee looming in the distance just in front of the mounting student loans—we can gauge the issue of fees in general with cooler heads.

Many SDSU students are adamant in preventing the cost of attending college from increasing. The protests over the infamous Student Success Fee proved to be the case. Although it’s a rational reaction, most of these fees go toward helping the school pay for services used by students. Therefore, we should naturally be the ones who pay for them.

That’s not to say paying them doesn’t suck, but the services these fees pay for have their purposes. For example, the $150 Health Services Fee goes toward paying for things like your free flu shot—something everyone should take advantage of.

Maybe it’s because I’m a political science minor—and overall nerd—but paying for fees is a lot like paying taxes. No one actually likes handing over the money, but we’re quick to reap the benefits. Instead of roads being fixed, which San Diego desperately needs, we get smaller classes and more teachers.

Unlike basic tuition costs, which go straight to the state of California, we see the direct benefits of fees. However, with the skyrocketing tuition costs, adding a fee for our benefit becomes a struggle because many of us are already strapped for cash. If tuition didn’t constantly increase so drastically, chances are students wouldn’t feel so passionate about one fee.

California State University tuitions have more than doubled over the last 10 years. Undergraduate tuition in 2004 was $2,334 for the year. To put that into perspective, this semester alone costs $2,736, putting the $697 in fees to shame.

In comparison, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo currently charges approximately $1,600 in fees per semester. At the very least, we can be thankful we don’t go there. According to Forbes, SDSU is actually ranked NO. 18 on the “most entrepreneurial university and best value college” list.

From the average tax-payer’s viewpoint, their initial reaction to cut funding for higher education is logical on the individual level. After all, why should they help pay for someone else’s education who isn’t their own flesh and blood?

Unfortunately, funding cuts are still hurting every student in California who bear the cost of education. Despite that paying for higher education is better for society as whole, times are tough for everyone, so education is what tends to get slashed like a cheating ex-boyfriend’s tires. If the taxpayers won’t front our bill, the burden of tuition and fees are placed upon us.

Unless California’s education budget is magically fixed overnight, students will continue to pay pricier tuitions and fees, such as the Student Success Fee. We must grit our teeth and accept that we must pay for our own education because no one else will.

If you still don’t believe you should pay more than three grand for one semester, that’s perfectly reasonable. Society would be a better place if education were more affordable. However, 10 years from now, once you’re a moderately successful payer, your mentality toward higher education better remain the same. Otherwise, it would be completely hypocritical.

Cheaper tuition costs for future Aztecs starts with us. The mindset of not wanting to pay, whether it’s taxes or fees, needs to change because society is suffering because of it. We mustn’t make the same mistakes as the previous generation because with the way things are going today, we’ve got a big enough mess waiting for us.