With tuition prices climbing rapidly each year, the government providing less financial aid per year, and students increasing study time to increase their G.P.A, it is no real surprise that college students have less cash than ever. But if this is the case, why do colleges and Universities continue to rip-off college students with high prices for campus housing, eateries, and shopping. Moreover, even though the mission statements of colleges and Universities claim to care about the education and well being of their students, they are really just concerned with their bottom line.
Upon arrival to the Kent State two years ago, I was stunned to see the price of food around campus. The Student Center, which offers restaurants such as Quiznos, and A&W Root beer as well as an Einstein Bagels. One would think that because of the low wages students receive and the built-in customer base, that prices would be relatively similar to off campus establishments, but this is hardly the case. Students face upwards of a 60 percent markup for these restaurants. And forget about those coupons that come in the mail because the university will not accept them. The service at these eateries can be considered bad at best. Campus restaurants are employed by college students most of whom struggle to do even the simplest task of making a sandwich, turning off a fryer, or even just taking an order correctly. This leaves students, to stand in extremely long lines for overpriced food that, on their best day is sub-bar.
There are long lines with crappy food on campus, so what? Go off campus. Well, that’s not so easy. Kent States policy is that all first and second year students who live in dorms must purchase food plans. I’m no law expert, but I’m pretty certain they cannot require students to purchase anything. What they in fact do is make it so difficult to get around that most people just give up. But at least they give us a choice to purchase different size meal plans, right? Yes, but they even screw students on that! If you purchase the two smallest plans and don’t use all the money by the end of the academic year, all the remaining money is filtered back to the university. Nice Kent State!
So, with all that, say you just want to buy some groceries. That should save some money! Right? Wrong! We’ll keep this simple. Five things most college students eat on a regular basis and their cost when purchased from campus stores: box of cereal – $4.49, pint of milk – $3.79, bread – $4.29, small jar of peanut butter $3.29, 12-pack of coke $5.49. In a grocery store, these items would cost roughly $2.50, $1.45, $1.99, $1.69, and $2.79 respectively. That’s an average price increase of 109%. Ridiculous! You can say convenience, I say criminal! Kent State with their multiple stores buy in quantities similar to your mid-size hometown grocery store. And lets not forget that Kent has fewer employees, who all work for minimum wage or slightly above.
It’s laughable that Kent State and university officials are surprised about the decrease in the number of students living dorms. How hard is it to understand that students are becoming more financially aware and are no longer willing to endure the price gouging. It’s pretty sad when cost for room and board is higher than the tuition. There is something seriously wrong when university officials feel the need to constantly financially rape students and increase prices every year, and what is even worse is that students and their parents are willing to stand up and say something. Kent State shouldn’t be called and educational institution, it should be called a corporation, because it exists solely to turn a profit.