A few months ago, I received the email all students and their parents long for — the annual fee bill notification. Usually, when I get this email I simply put it aside until it has to be done, and this year was no different.
I am fortunate enough to have my parents pay my tuition, so often I do not put much thought into it. I know how blessed I am, because many other students are not afforded this luxury. This realization got me thinking about how much money we're asked to put toward the University.
Many students have to pay their tuition on their own. Without financial aid, the average undergraduate student from Louisiana is paying over $24,000 in tuition each year, while. For the average out-of-state student, that number is nearly $41,000.
So where is it all going? I do not know many people who enjoy draining their bank accounts, especially when they aren't sure what it's for. Originally, I just assumed that all of our money went directly to our education — and a lot of it does, but not quite all of it, as it turns out.
I am a firm believer that if your money is going somewhere, you should do everything you can to enjoy it. Well in order to enjoy something, you have to know what it is first.
I was able to find a source on the University's website that breaks down how tuition and fees are spent. It doesn't specify exact amounts, but it's a good resource for when you want to see all the amenities we're actually paying for.
Luckily, there are lots of things on campus our tuition helps to provide for financially, some of which I was never even aware of.
I am sure there are many other students out there who still think their tuition goes solely toward academics. Truthfully, however, the University tries to provide us the best of the best in all areas of student life, not just education.
Our money is going toward things like the University Recreation Center, student media and technology access across campus such as computers and printing in the library.
So I urge students this semester to work out at the UREC, engage with student media and use other tuition-funded campus resources to the fullest — because if not, your money is essentially being thrown down the drain.
This semester, I am going to try to do more things on campus and be a bit smarter with my tuition. This is something every student should practice, as keeping track of your finances will help you not only now, but in the future as well.
Aside from putting your money to good use, these tools can help provide you with a better college experience. When your time on campus over, all of these luxuries won't be as available to you anymore. Enjoy it while you can, and your wallet (or your parent's wallet) might suffer a little less.
Elizabeth Crochet is a 19-year-old political communication sophomore from New Orleans.