Just the little things

Should little extra costs be free?

With the increasingly high price tag of a college education, should the little costs be made complementary for all students?

The cost of being a regular college student is monumental. Tuition, meal plans, room and board and the increasingly high costs of textbooks are things that every college student are far too familiar with.

However, most accept that these huge costs are a necessity in higher education, and will help pave the way for future success. It’s safe to say the little costs add up. Laundry, printer paper and official transcripts are all small-scale tolls that never seem to make a dent, until you have to indulge them over and over again.

A few cents for a one-page printing job at the Library does not seem like a lot. Add in the costs of several copies for peer review in English classes, however, and the years of a seemingly negligible cost eventually add up and create a considerable dent.

T.J. Bautista, freshman financial economics major and commuter, said that “there should be no extra costs at UMBC because we already pay too much expenses in our tuition.”

Roxana Mejia, freshman political science and psychology double major, voiced a dissenting opinion, “Charging for printing is fine because it is only a small fee; you print only when you need to, and sometimes people waste paper by printing non–school–related things.”

Small costs, as Roxana stated, can be argued to be so inconsequential that there would be no point in increasing the tuition of all students just for the privilege of unlimited printing. There is also the issue that would most likely come up regarding the abuse and possible misuse of these benefits, using the printers for personal use instead of primarily for school.

Although there is a chance that select people may abuse the privilege of free printing, the good seems to outweigh the bad in this case. Allowing all UMBC students free access to printing will create an increasingly appreciative student body by allowing people to save even a small amount of money. Whatever increases  in tuition there may be would eventually pay off due to the plethora of printing each student needs to partake in.

One source of concern for many students is the cost of official transcripts. While some schools allow their students to access and print as many copies of their transcripts as they like, UMBC requires its students to pay for this necessary documentation.

Mejia stated that official transcripts should be provided without additional costs because, “every single person who wants to go to another school, especially after finishing undergrad, needs them. Unlike printing paper or doing laundry, there is no choice in the matter whether it is a necessity for the person or not.”

Since many students transfer out of UMBC while pursuing their bachelor’s degree, or choose to undertake a graduate degree, official transcripts are not a small cost to those students, and it isn’t one that they can avoid.

If UMBC includes these costs in the already lofty tuition rates students have to pay, making transcripts and printing openly available and free to all students, the decreased stress of paying for the small costs will be just another perk that comes along with being a student at this institution.