A Short Polemic on Additional Costs for Being at University

This week is the week that I begin my first semester f my second year of my undergraduate and I feel the need to talk about something which I’m not sure if I find insulting or not, but certainly don’t understand.

So… university. It’s a thing that happens.

Actually, it’s a place where one goes to study and learn.

Things happen at university, plenty of which provide me with enough annoyance and anger to probably write about them for a few months.


Anyway, there’s a lot of things that I see at university that grind my gears as they don’t make sense to me.

One thing in particular is paying for field trips.

University in Australia isn’t free. It hasn’t been for a long time and that’s a shame because making the financial hurdle that can come with being at university non-existent is rather beneficial to any country.

When I’m in the position where I have to increase my study debt by more than one thousand dollars per course per semester I want to know why I’m paying over one hundred dollars in order to go on a two day field trip.

I don’t understand why this is the case.
What was the fucking course fee for?

So many people seem to accept this as the way that things are because it’s not normal to take umbrage at the fact that despite having to pay money in some form in order to do the subject, you have to pay more money to do something that’s considered mandatory as a different date.

Shouldn’t the course fee cover that?

Shouldn’t the student contribution fee, a separate charge for which I still have no idea as to what it covers other than some vague waving of the hands that hopefully will mean that I don’t ask more questions also be included in the course fees? It goes up the more subjects that I do in a semester, so maybe it should.

It would make a lot more sense than slogging people with it after an arbitrary date because they decided that the course was something they could do.

Probably the reason as the why I have an issue with this is that, being an independent who earns enough to get buy whilst studying full-time, I don’t want to be in a position where I’m spending more money on things that make no sense to spend money on.

Admittedly I could probably cut back on some of my own spending, but I’d like to believe that I don’t indulge that much, which is beside the point as I still have the money to pay for field trips.

I also have to take into consideration what I could be losing out on financially for not working the days which I’d be gone, although my job would hopefully allow me to work extra hours to compensate.

I’m sure there are people at university in a worse position than mine but either aren’t old enough to want to actually speak out or see that something doesn’t make sense.

Well, at least they’re getting taught how to think critically.

I’m sure that there’s plenty of people who are fine with paying more money to a university after paying money in some form for the “privilege” of being able to study one or more subjects. I’m not.

I think that being in a position where I couldn’t attend a field trip because I didn’t have enough money is odd. Some courses allow alternatives to be arranged, but to miss out on something that is considered important because of a lack of funds because something that should be included in the course fees by default isn’t for some reason doesn’t make sense.

Maybe I’ve been working for too many of the few years I’ve been alive and it’s left me with too much time to think.

Maybe coming to university as an adult was not good for leaving me with a good impression of university.

I think that education should be free and I don’t have a problem with a larger portion of my tax going toward keeping education free. If people were worried about more students trying to be freeloaders because of it, well the courses could be re-worked to be a bit more difficult. It wouldn’t matter as students would probably work harder to complete their courses because the financial investment on their part would be obsolete.

Educated citizens can lead to having a stronger country.

Giving debt to students and then giving them more costs to cover makes a bunch of them angry.

About Stupidity Hole

I'm some guy that does stuff. Hoping to one day fill the internet with enough insane ramblings to impress a cannibal rat ship. I do more than I probably should. I have a page called MS Paint Masterpieces that you may be interested in checking out. I also co-run Culture Eater, an online zine for covering the arts among other things. We're on Patreon!
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8 Responses to A Short Polemic on Additional Costs for Being at University

    • Have you had to deal with a similar situation?


      • bymarion says:

        Not personally, luckily: when I was a student, there was still essentially no course fee to study at university in France (unlike for studying at other higher ed schools & institutions). I think it’s a system to fight for, but there’s been reform after reform in the past 15 years that have very much opened the way to the system you describe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Education was free for a while in Australia. I don’t think having a loan system solves anything.

        That compounded with a pointless amount of obfuscating is leaving me with a bitter distaste for university here.


      • bymarion says:

        I agree. I think it’s really sad that a significant part of the academic community is falling into that trap without realizing it will only make their situation worse.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I imagine some people who are aware and can do something aren’t doing enough.

        If I remember correctly, you didn’t exactly have great experiences either.


      • bymarion says:

        No, indeed. There is a consensus among French academics to say that the reforms undertaken by successive governments do not address the issues that university faces (ie, in short, serious underfunding).
        But in fact, many (most?) don’t have a problem with the idea of higher study fees, increased competition between universities for funding opportunities, competition between researchers, etc. All they ask is a reform made in such a way that they (or their institution) end up in the top 5 of the shanghai ranking, thus get the top funding, because of course, THEY are the best.
        I am more keen to think that it’s the “ranking system” state of mind that is the core of the problem, but I admit I was not very good at speaking up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think that there’s a good deal of strength behind that thought.

        I don’t think that a university behaving like that is acceptable.

        At least one student at my uni has been advised that the uni is trying to become world class and in speaking to one of the higher ups myself I’ve received the implication that they’re looking to do so by attracting better students rather than working harder to ensure that the current students are doing better, because somehow that works.
        I’m going to clarify that I am not making this up. This was told to me, although it was done so using better words.
        This was roughly the time when I started souring toward higher education, or at the least the systems in place that govern higher education.
        Although we do have it better here than a lot of places, it should be much better than what we get.


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