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ONLY $38,710! (plus hidden fees)

Editor's note: This was turned in for my Writing for Publication class exactly as it appears here.

If you go to Wake Forest, then chances are you realize that you are attending an expensive school. Youíve probably heard people complain about the tuition and how it seems to rise every 45 or 50 seconds. In case you were wondering, the average tuition plus room and board is $38,710 for 2005-2006, according to U.S. News and World Report. You may have even read some newspaper or magazine articles whining about it.

Thankfully, this wonít be one of them.

No, I realize that itís a bit ridiculous for me to waste space blabbering about how I have to pay too much to go to school here, when in fact I chose to go here on my own. I filled up TWO PAGES discussing my ďacademic passionĒ on my application just so I could go here. I knew this place was expensive all along. And letís face it Ė not much of that $38,710 is coming out of my own pocket.

But I am going to whine about all those other hidden fees littering our campus, the ones never mentioned when I signed up to go here.

When I signed up for bowling class last semester, I expected to work on my game a bit, get in an extra hour of credit, and hopefully get an easy A. I did not expect to pay $70 to take the class. I stomached the fee, took the class, and enjoyed it immensely. Itís only $70, no big deal Ė but why?

This fee, which goes to the Northside Bowling lanes for graciously allowing us to use the lanes, may not be much for me to pay, but consider how incredibly miniscule $70 is to the University. Why should the students be the one paying this bill? I think the school, which has an endowment of $812,192,381, could deal with taking only $38,640 out of my parentsí money and picking up the slack on my bowling class.

Other classes require these same sorts of payments. A semester of individual music instruction costs over $200 for a half-hour lesson per week. Beginning golf has an approximate fee of $75, and intermediate golf has a fee of $100. Admittedly, no one here will significantly improve their educational experience much by taking intermediate golf. But I doubt the facilities here would suffer at all if the school paid for some range balls and rental clubs.

The school has added another hidden fee this year, albeit a small one. Group fitness classes in the Miller Center, which were previously free for all students, now can only be used after paying a $30 yearly fee (with the exception of ďAb Attack,Ē which is still free). $30 alone isnít much to complain about, but the fact that the University has tacked this on for seemingly no reason is baffling. At most, the school gains another $120,000 if EVERY undergraduate student attends fitness classes, which represents a mere 0.015% of the schoolís endowment. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there should be such thing as a free fitness class at a major university.

The stereotype of Wake Forest students is that we all have Daddyís credit card in a holster and that money grows on trees in our backyards, but thatís not the case for everyone. Iíll be the first to admit that a $70 fee out of my wallet is a bit of a hassle, and my parents would rather not just dole out money every other week. And I imagine there are plenty of students on this campus more financially strapped than me.

Maybe this isnít that big of a deal. Maybe Iím just a whiner. But itís my right to be one.

I pay $38,710 a year for that right.

Anders Larson Archive