So University has arrived, and after essentially signing up for a lifetime of debt and misery, it takes you just a few days to realise that the £9,000-plus tuition fee covers very, very little. We weren’t asking for our lunch expenses to be paid (although that would be nice!), however some of the costs we’re expected to stump up for border on ridiculous. This list shows just some of the many areas you would expect to be covered by the extortionate tuition fee. Unfortunately, as you will know only too well, this is far from the truth.
Where else to begin? Surely the biggest disgrace of them all. Each module that you choose will often include a ‘compulsory textbook’. Sure, copies are available in the library, but you will often have to literally fight your way to getting one, which you can’t ever keep for very long anyway. Textbooks often cost north of £50, which can add up to hundreds of pounds during your stint at University. Even worse, your lecturer will often be the author of said textbook, and therefore you wonder why they can’t teach you the textbook in the lecture. Overall, a very annoying, yet totally unneeded extra cost.
Our next bug-bear – printing. While some Universities kindly offer a paltry £2.00 in printing credit to get the ball rolling, the vast majority leave you to fend for yourself. You then get an email from your lecturer demanding you print something for the next day. But no, printing isn’t included in your tuition fee. So you head to the library, and while 5p doesn’t sound much, before you know it you’ll be printing the equivalent of the Amazon rainforest. Sigh.
3. Field Trips
Next up we have compulsory field trips. They are advertised as a life-changing experience, while the suggestion is you can forget about anything other than a 2:2 in your exam if you don’t attend. £30 is the fee – but again you have to cover the cost. Then of course, you get to the destination, and often it will be a swamp. Moreover, later in the year when the exam comes, nothing you learned at the trip features. Great.
4. Other Course Materials
Following on from the above, for some courses, basic materials aren’t included. If you are an Art student, a sketchbook is needed, but is it included? No. You need to do a photo shoot in a studio on campus – you have to pay to book it out. Sometimes it works out that hiring out Pinewood Studios will work out cheaper as well. The general rule seems to be – if you need it, you pay for it.
5. Travel to Placements
Courses will often include a placement – either for three weeks or sometimes an entire semester. Often you won’t get paid for this, that’s a rant for another day and another article. These placements are often required to either pass or receive accreditation. Yet your administrative staff will take pride in sending you forty miles away. You have to figure out how to get there – and cover the costs yourself. With public transport costs in the UK among the highest in the world, these costs will quickly spiral out of control. Suddenly you are paying to work. Hmm.
6. Exam Resits
It can be perfectly natural to have a total breakdown after having to live with the above five areas. This can lead to a poor performance in your exam. So, you want to try and improve. You would expect your University to applaud this and give you all the backing you need. Instead, you have to pay for the resit. While admittedly it isn’t as bad as other areas, this is still something that you’d be forgiven for thinking would be included in the tuition fee.
Fast-forward to your final year, and after successfully negotiating all of these hurdles, your final challenge is the dreaded dissertation. After ploughing hour after hour of hard work in, you finally get to stage where
you decide enough is enough) you’re delighted with the outcome. Then, suddenly you need to print out the dissertation in a special way, which your University will conveniently offer to do for you – for £30. Again, this isn’t included, despite it being a fundamental part of your course.
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8. Graduation Robes
So the big day has arrived – years of blood, sweat and tears have got you to this moment. Hopefully, it is a day that you will remember for the rest of your life. But, don’t you dare think you will get away without paying something. Yes, after three years of taking every last penny from you, your University won’t stop there. One final kick in the teeth – you will be asked to cover the cost of hiring a Graduation robe. This is usually £40, and don’t think of keeping any of it as a souvenir – it all must be returned. As you put your card details in to pay for the robes, you might just wonder – was this whole experience really worth it?! Well, hopefully it will be!