Why so many fees?

English: Circle outlined in gray with the word...

English: Circle outlined in gray with the words William Rainey Harper College within it, and a blue geometric shape that is the logo of Harper College with the letters est. 1965. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With nearly 27,000 students attending Harper College during the 2010-2011 semester, more and more families are seeing the benefit of attending a two-year community college before attending a public or private college or university. However, how much money do students truly save by attending Harper College and where are the tuition payments and fees truly going to?

The Harper website, http://www.harpercollege.edu, gives credibility to a student saving nearly $68,000 by choosing to attend a community college rather than attending a four-year university or college first. The website even goes into details about the difference of taking credit hour in comparison to other instate and out of state schools. For instance, one class at Harper College costs $295.50. If a student takes one class at DePaul University the cost would be $2,676.50.

For any average student who is looking for the cheapest and most economically friendly way to afford an education, this is extremely beneficial. Harper’s website even shows a bar chart, with the amount of money a student would save by attending a community college for two years, then transferring to a private school or public school. (See bottom of story for chart.)

If a student were to attend a community college for two years and then transfer to a public school, that student can save a grand total of $26, 854, based on an estimated total of five classes per semester over the same cost at a four year university or college. Rather than going directly from high school to a four-year public school, which the website estimates to be $64, 560, you are saving a large amount of money that can go to other fees and later life expenses.

The same can be said about a private school as well. The website estimates a total cost of $147,972 by attending a private school for four years. Attending a community college for two years and then transferring to the private school a student can save $68,560.

There are other fees attached to an education at Harper College.

Just by registering for one single class, a student must pay a laundry list of other fees. These fees include;  an application Fee (non-refundable) of $25, an activity Fee for full-time student of $42 and  part-time students of $21, a registration Fee (non-refundable) of $15, a technology Fee of $7 per credit hour, a construction and Renovation Fee of $9 per credit hour, laboratory and Music fees determined at time of registration, and then finally students are responsible for payment of the $15 non-refundable registration fee for all registrations that are dropped for non-payment.

The grand total cost for a student who takes a total of 16 credit hours at Harper College. Tuition would cost $1,576.00, but the total of that semester would be $2,775.00. That is an additional $1,199 for fees, which is almost equal to the cost of tuition itself.  Let’s examine what these fees are actually paying for.

The activity fee is $42, which pays to get Smooth-E and Mark Boal to make appearances at events on campus. While these events are ideal to a student who wants to meet guests of this nature, attendances at these events were unremarkable. This fee also goes towards parties such as the end-of-semester party and the Hullabaloo, which was attended by a large amount of students.

In times like these, many students are looking to pay less for an education that can give them the ‘college experience’ however at what cost? Appearances by a comedian that was called “sexist and racist” by students who attended and a producer of an Academy Award winning film, that had extremely low turnout by students?

Harper College can be given the dignity of charging a low per credit hour price, but the service fees and activity fees are not needed by all, and not wanted by all, as it can be seen through attendance by the students and community at the events.


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