I may sound like a crusty old man with this post. So let me apologize up front for the Rant that I am about to commence.
I just received the bill for my son's 1st Semester of College and I am shocked at the cost. I know that higher education comes at a price, and I don't mind paying for exceptional instruction and the opportunity to better yourself, but some of the charges stick out like a sore thumb- especially the cost of housing.
My son chose a relatively small State University in Texas. I won't name the University because quite frankly I don't think this is unique to this particular University and it wouldn't be fair to call them out individually when others have the same policies.
That being said, here is the scenario that is creating my "Falling Down" moment. This University is located in a small Texas town where you can lease a fairly nice 1200 sq. ft. 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment for around $700/month. So figure, with 2 people splitting the rent, utilities and essential furniture, you are looking at about $500/month per occupant. However, this University requires Freshmen and Sophomores to live on campus- supposedly to set up underclassmen for success in adjusting to college life. So an apartment is not an option for the 1st 2 years of his college experience.
I would understand this policy if it was truly intended to establish a successful environment, but then I look at the $3,900 housing bill for his 1 room (200 sq. ft.) dorm that he has to share with a roommate along with 1 bathroom that he as to share with the kids in the room adjoining his. That's $3,900 for 4 months (Late August- Mid December). Luckily, I am a college graduate and I can do that math. I am basically paying $975/month, when I could be paying $500 a month to provide him with an apartment with his own room, private bathroom, kitchen and den. And I would think the bigger space and privacy would be more conducive to setting him up for success as a student. The skeptic in me tells me that this "University Housing Policy" is more of a revenue generator than it is an "it's in the best interest of the student" policy. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the Housing Policy requires the purchase of a "meal plan" for students living in their housing, and the minimum cost for a meal plan is an additional $1,700 (or $425/month) bringing my monthly mandatory housing expense to $1400/month.
Am I wrong to be so outraged with this expense and policy? Does it really cost this much for the University to operate Housing and Dining? I realize that they need to make profit, but my "ripoff" barometer is redlining right now.
Please let me know what you think.