College life drains students’ wallets

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September 16, 2008

3:32 PM

Money — everyone worries about it and wants more of it. And, at the College of William and Mary this year, everyone is spending more of it. After a hard summer of unpaid internships and scarce summer jobs, many students face an unsavory future of spending.

For fall 2007, in-state students paid an average of $4,582 for their semester at the College. Out-of-state students paid $13,467. This fall, in-state students paid a heftier bill of $5,123 and out-of-state students paid $14,663. Including room and board, books and other expenses, this fall semester at the College will cost in-state students about $10,300 and out-of-state students about $19,800. Those are some scary numbers, and they’re not getting smaller anytime soon.

As for our education, we’re still learning from the same professors, and at least somebody finally checked to see why Tucker Hall smells like raw sewage. But how long until the College’s decreased state funding and smaller revenues force professors to look elsewhere? How long until Tucker gets renovated? It seems that instead of looking after the College’s historical buildings and easing the suffering of years of English majors, the College is trying to build out and up. This is a desperate strategy to appeal to new science majors, who in the future will have more money to donate than the stinky English majors.

But, there are ways to ease the pressure that the College puts on your wallet. First of all, dining services offers three different meal plans with 19, 14 and 10 meals a week for the exact same price. If you can cook for yourself, you can eat comfortably for about $50 to $70 a week, give or take a pizza or two. Do the math — you’ll be saving a lot of money. Also, unless your schedule is packed, you can probably devote six to eight hours a week to a job. Don’t tell yourself that you deserve that latte after class.

It costs $305 to park your baby on campus, with no guarantee that you’ll have a spot every day. If you need your car here, use a friend’s parking spot off campus and park on campus on the weekend for free. A greener idea — invest in a bicycle. Even if you pay $1000 for a bike, that’s pennies compared to what you’d spend in a year on a parking permit, gas and the inevitable parking tickets.

Lastly, even though you’re trying to save money, be courteous. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend drive you somewhere, help pay for gas. Trust me, in times like these, they don’t like you that much.

Brittany Hamilton is a junior at the College.

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