That diploma is one expensive piece of paper

Whoever said that money can’t buy you happiness obviously never had to pay for college.

If you’re a student, you have a few options of how to deal with money issues.

If you’re very lucky, you can find someone to foot the bill. Maybe you had a relative that was able to save up enough money to cover your expenses.

Or maybe you managed to impress a scholarship committee with a story about growing up on the wrong side of town but still being able to get As in high school.

Either way, congratulations are in order. You don’t have to be dirt poor until after you graduate and can’t find a decent job.

Some people opt for student loans. That’s fine for now, but when you graduate and start interviewing for jobs and they all tell you, “you can’t get a job in this field without experience,” you have to thank them for their time, then go home and write another loan repayment check.

Then there’s the group of students balancing part-time jobs with school work. Do you all even remember what eight hours of sleep feels like? And how awful is it working yourself to death at a minimum wage job, then coming to campus and finding out Printing Services wants your lunch money?

Speaking of food, I think we can all agree that food on campus is outrageously expensive. Please bear in mind that I’m talking about Chartwells itself, not our food services people. I love our people.

But when I buy a meal on campus, I just know that somewhere the top dog running Chartwells is sitting back in an over-stuffed office chair petting a cat and saying, “excellent…”

Now it’s your turn, bookstore.

Sophomore year I bought a textbook from you for too much money (obviously) because I was desperate.

When I tried to sell it back at the end of the semester, you wouldn’t take it because it was supposed to come with a workbook.

You can imagine my surprise when I found out I had paid for an attached workbook that I never was told about and never received. And you can imagine where I wanted to shove that missing workbook when they said they couldn’t buy back a textbook with missing components.

Come on, bookstore! I know that you’ll gladly charge me $175 for a textbook worth $100 and then buy the book back for $25, but at least have the decency to give me the stupid $25.

Consider yourself warned: that bookstore turns a better profit than a pyramid scheme.

The bottom line is that if you’re in college then you’re broke or about to be broke.

You get to pay for a piece of paper that proves you took a lot of classes.

I think education is important. There are a lot of important jobs out there that require skills that you can learn in college and that’s worth investing money in; but not this much money.

My freshman year, the U.S. average annual costs at a four-year, public university was $14,262. My sophomore year it jumped to $15,014. That’s over $29,000 in two years. And the annual costs have kept on jumping since then.

Let’s stop pretending that this is a good deal.