the cost of higher education

This morning, I went to my last art history class of the term. As many of you may remember, I decided to return to university this fall to pursue more useless knowledge and perhaps even more letters behind my last name. It's beginning to look like an alphabet back there and gainful employment eludes me, thus my time being spent fussing over being the recipient of large appliances as gifts.

After class, I decided to be a responsible student and make the effort to actually pay for the class I've been taking. The strike on campus had prevented me from doing this earlier, not only because of the job action removing tellers from the student services centre, I live in fear of crossing the picket line and having an off-campus hot beverage hurled at me by an angry librarian. The following is an account of what happened:

Teller: That will be six hundred dollars.

Saucy: Surely there must be a mistake. I'm only taking one undergraduate class with no lab fees!

Teller: You're paying late. There is a late fee of forty dollars.

Saucy: But the class only costs four hundred dollars. And why is there a late fee? You were on strike and your job action prevented me from paying my class fee in person or on-line. I know, because I tried.

Teller: Well, it's still late. Everyone who didn't pay before the strike action began in September will incur the late fee.

Saucy: But why am I being charged six hundred dollars? Even if I pay the late fee, my total with student fees couldn't possibly be six hundred dollars? My classroom wasn't even heated.

Teller: Well, aside from your late fee, you also have student fees, athletic fees, student union dues, the mandatory bus pass....

Saucy: 'squeeze me? Mandatory what pass?

Teller: Mandatory bus pass. It's for the environment. We charge every student an $80.00 fee which provides them with a bus pass. It's mandatory. Do you know what that means?

Saucy: Of course I know what mandatory means, but I don't need a bus pass. I drive here. I pay twelve dollars in parking every time I come to class.

Teller: Well, if you took the bus, you wouldn't need to pay parking!

Saucy: But the bus didn't even come to campus during your job action because the drivers were sympathetic to your union and wouldn't cross the picket lines by bringing students to the university. Besides, I drive. I am a grownup with a vehicle filled with children that get dropped off at various schools on my way here. Are you telling me that every single student on campus paid for a bus pass, regardless of their transportation affiliation?

Teller: Yes. It's good for the environment.

Saucy: But nobody ever told me I was even entitled to this free bus pass. Where is it?

Teller: You need to get a new student ID and get a special sticker put on it. You can do that downstairs for ten dollars.

Saucy: Ten dollars... on top of the six hundred dollars? And tell me why I am paying six hundred dollars again?

Teller: You have athletic fees on top of your student fees, academic fees, mandatory bus pass and student union dues.

Saucy: But I am a visual art student! What could you possibly mean, athletic fees?

Teller: Funding for the athletic teams - the football and basketball teams, women's field hockey...

Saucy: Are you seriously telling me that there is a mandatory fee to support the sports teams? Am I back in high school? Are the popular kids running this place, too?

Teller: Our football team did win the national championship last year, you know.

Saucy: I heard. Did you know that there was plenty of art and some damned fine writing on campus last year? Is there a mandatory fee to keep the student gallery open? Is there a mandatory fee to provide electric pencil sharpeners for the creative writing students? Is there a mandatory fee to put a dictionary in each and every bathroom cubicle in this place, because from the spelling mistakes I've seen in the graffiti, you could use them?

Teller: Don't get snippy.

Saucy: I'm not snippy. I'm Saucy!

Teller: Are you paying today, or what?

Saucy: Yes, I'm paying today.

Teller: Great. Your bus pass will be good until the end of December.

Saucy: Ummmm... what about next term? Isn't the bus pass good for next term?

Teller: No, the bus passes are city transit passes. They expire at the end of the year. In January, you will need a new bus pass.

Saucy: Not that I intend to use it, but surely this new bus pass that will be issued is just a replacement for the expired one and I will not have to pay for it? Because, as you have pointed out, I've paid my eighty dollars.

Teller: Now you're just being silly. When you register for next term, you will be charged the mandatory bus pass fee and get your new bus pass.

Saucy: But a city bus pass is only eighty dollars a year!

Teller: Yes, but their year runs from January to December, our academic year runs from September to April. There is an overlap.

Saucy: Clearly. (grudgingly hands over her debit card)

Teller: At least you can park in our nice new parkade near the football field! Since you don't take the bus. (the inference here being "and you clearly don't care about the environment")

Saucy: That's where I park. It's very expensive considering that it's off-campus and I have a long walk to get to my building.

Teller: One hundred percent of the profit from the parking fees at the stadium parkade help to fund our football team and other athletic programs!

Saucy: Of course it does.

And now Saucy will demonstrate how to turn regular dollar store stuffed snowman ornaments (above) into wonderful Christmas presents:

Just place your off-campus beverage card onto a piece of felt and run hot glue around it, leaving about a 1/8" gap. Place a contrasting piece of felt onto the hot glue and trim it nice and close to the card. Voila!

Hot glue the cards into the arms of the cute snowmen ornaments and gussy them up with ribbons and buttons in coordinating colours.

Now all of the parcels are ready to be shipped to Veto's family in Alberta. That's it. I'm officially done my Christmas shopping. Are you jealous?


Starshine said...

Those are the cutest snowmen ever! I might have to run over to the Dollar Store this afternoon!

Sarah and Jack said...

Oh my, I hope it isn't rude, but really, the exchange is quite funny.

MJ said...

Yup, it is always in the jocks' favor. You can imagine how trapped I have felt particularly within the last 2 days with all the yee-haas around football. I didn't even know there was a parade today! Thank goodness I didn't get stuck in horrific traffic! Yikes!

Cute snowmen! Wow, I can't believe that you are done X'mas shopping and wrapping. Check out my blog that "wraps" up my situation to be posted within the next day or so...

Loopy said...

Oh mommy..
I don't like that teller*spit*

Mrs. G. said...

So much for the concept of customer service. I can't help but sigh as that $600 could have bought that kick ass stove. Man that's a lot of dough for one class...I hope a field trip to Florence was included.

I love those cute little snowmen.

the fan said...

I love your segue from the snippy clerk to the cute snowmen!

Melanie said...

Oh, if I could have back all the university parking fines I've paid over the years, I'm pretty sure I could purchase my own sovereign city-state where ALL PARKING IS FREE.

Also, I like your snowmen. Any snowman packing free Starbucks is OK by me.

prettyinpink said...

Uni tuition costs are CRAZY!!! This year, I decided that when I had to pay for my one class (also $560), that I was going to get something more out of my money...I cancelled my current gym membership and began working out at the university gym! Now, I feel better about the money spent on athletic fees in my tuition (50 dollars) and the money I saved from my gym membership (200 dollars)!

Tiffany said...

Man, they get you coming and going at University, don't they? That's just obnoxious!

Love the snowmen, though.


kalurah said...

Oh my word. I think we all need to get a mandatory pass to go find that lady and smack her around a bit.