Disproportionate Attention

Everyone likes complaining, especially over silly things.  What I like to complain about is people complaining too much.  A lot of people here at Cornell like to complain about how the university charges too much for everything.  While some of the complaining is merited, I feel like more attention should be placed on tuition and it’s raising cost.

Printing: When I go to print something on campus it costs 9 cents.  Some people are outraged by this, claiming Cornell is just finding more ways to take our money.  I would hate it if Cornell had free printing, why?  People would abuse the system and print way more than they need.  Then printers would always be busy, and constantly run out of toner and paper, thus depriving me of printing out my one page of homework problems.

Also, printing is expensive.  There are a lot of inherent costs besides paper we don’t think about like, maintenance, toner, and initial capital costs.  I think 9 cents is a good deal.  I do all my printing through Cornell and it only adds up to about $10 a semester, although I don’t have to print anything very long like papers and slides.  Having my own printer would cost me a lot more and it would be a lot less convenient than being able to print anywhere on campus.

Textbooks: yes textbooks cost too much, no, this isn’t Cornell’s doing.  Publishers make textbooks expensive, not schools.  The problem with selling advanced textbooks is that not many people buy them, so in order to turn a profit, publishers make them expensive.  Cornell helps a lot with the cost of books with the semesterly book buyback.  At 50% of the books original value it’s not a bad deal, the major downside is that they usually only buy back the more common textbooks.  So if you are in a small class with a lot of obscure books, don’t expect much.

Student Activity Fee:  Every student at Cornell pays a fee of about $100 a semester that goes towards student clubs and events.  I think this is too much and that the funds are often misappropriated.  If there are students who want to organize an event that costs a lot, they should be willing to pay for it themselves.  But then I compare this cost to the cost of my tuition and then I just don’t care anymore.

So why don’t we seem to complain all that much about tuition?  The cost of these small fees next to the cost of tuition really is negligible.  Even yearly tuition increases are an order of magnitude greater than the student activity fee.  Increasing the price of something while you’re in the middle of it just doesn’t seem right as you’re kinda stuck with it.  People do complain about this too, but not nearly as much as I think they should.  I call for at least a ten-fold increase in complaining about tuition increases.  I find it rather amusing how everyone is happy when the tuition increase is less than projected.  Shouldn’t we complain when they raise tuition?