Thursday, December 22, 2005

CSU Schools Scam Their Students

Catchy headline, isn't it?

I have absolutely no sympathy anymore for educational activists, politicians, and college teachers who whine about how crappy their schools are and how the government is hindering sufficient funding. All the liberal loudmouths and the students and voters they infect with the mindset that the conservative government is neglecting education are supporting a blatant lie fabricated to mislead the impressionable masses who blindly accept what they are told is correct by these biased and uninformed sources.

If CSU schools are indeed suffering, it is because of poor financial management and spending within the school, not because of a lack of funding.

For those of you who do not know, I am currently attending CSULB, and majoring in English: Creative Writing. And I just sold my books back today. These books, which originally cost me more than $300, were only able to be exchanged for a comparatively meager $53 when sold back to the campus bookstore.

$53 for over $300 worth of books. That's 1/6 of what I paid. Three particularly underbid books were ones which I had bought for the same class, which is going to be identically offered by the same instructor again at CSULB next semester. One book, which originally cost $25, was bought back for $1. Another, which was originally $50, was bought back for $2. Yet another, originally costing $70, was bought back for $4. Seems fair, right?

And what's the lame excuse the guy gave me for offering such a low price? When I asked, he said that basically no one else in the country is using these books except for my professor at this school.

A problem I see with this excuse:

Why would the price go down if the only people using them are the ones taking this specific teacher's class at CSULB? The price wasn't $1 when I bought it, so obviously they aren't having any trouble selling them. Why not be honest and just tell me what they're really going to do? They're going to sell them back at this same bookstore next semester, for an approximate 2500% profit on each book, to each new student taking the exact same class with the exact same teacher.

Now, let's speculate about this.

There are approximately 33,500 students attending CSULB. Each student needs books. How many books depends on the number of classes being taken and how many books are required in each class. From what I understand, $300 is a pretty standard if not moderate cost for textbooks in a typical semester. So let's just assume that each student is going to pay approximately $300 in books, as some students will pay less, and some students will pay more.

Let's do some math.

(And again, this is purely speculative, as there are factors which will affect these numbers, such as those who buy and sell their books via a third party like an off-campus bookstore or from other students. So this serves to show how staggering of a profit college campuses can make through textbook and other sales.)

33,500 students x $300 in books = $10,050,000. 10 million dollars in textbooks each semester.

1/6 of $10,050,000 = $1,675,000. $1,675,000 dollars being given back to the students in exchange for their books.

$10,050,000 - $1,675,000 = $8,375,000. $8,375,000 dollars being earned by the school each semester by selling books at high prices and buying them back at cheap prices.

Of course, this number varies as some people get more than 1/6 of their money back. And then again, the school won't even buy back some books, so who knows what the exact amount is.

Now, we cannot possibly forget other such exorbitant fees being charged to students who attend CSU schools, such as tuition and parking. Tuition at CSULB costs each full-time student $1,432 dollars, and a parking pass costs about $95.

Not everyone drives to school, so for our analysis, I'll be conservative and say that 1/2 of the students will buy a parking pass.

16,750 students x $95 = $1,591,250. That's not including those students who use the metered parking and who buy day parking passes.

Now, for the big money.

33,500 full-time students x $1,432 dollars = $47,972,000.

Of course, this is not totally correct because not everyone is a full time student. Part-timers pay $904 per semester in tuition. So let's say 1/4 of the students are part-time, which would yield 7,571,000 for those students, leaving the 3/4 of the full-timers (25,125 students) remaining to pay $35,979,000.

And what about those in more expensive graduate programs, and those living on campus? Even more revenue for the school. But I won't even speculate on those.

So according to my very crude and very incomplete calculations, CSULB makes around $40 million dollars each semester from tuition alone. Add the $1.5 million from parking, and the $8 million from book profits, they get around $50 million dollars every semester to throw around.

Don't even tell me CSU schools are poor and need funding. It's simply not true. Not with the prices they charge. And especially not with the current wages being paid to teachers. So where is all that money going, anyway?

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