Opinion: Exact change at the FlashCard machine


Albert J. Fisler is a junior English major and a  columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Albert Fisler

It is common knowledge that universities and colleges weigh heavy on the wallet as these institutions squeeze students – or those fiscally responsible for the students – for nearly every penny they have. The cost of college has also been rising over the past few years, as more and more high school graduates make the decision to go forth into college rather than straight into the workforce. 

In an article posted by the National Center for Education Statistics, it was found that the national average for four-year undergraduate institutions collecting tuition with room and board was $23,066 in the 2011-12 school year. That is quite a shocking number, considering that this number is quadrupled for a student that attends all four years – and even higher if they stay longer. 

Certain universities, including Kent State, require, or highly insist, that students spend their first two years of their undergraduate career on campus in the residence halls, which includes the cost of that room and board. 

It seems that these institutions are willing to take any and every dollar they can from students and their financial guardians. However, I was shocked today when I found one instance where the university did not want my money, or rather, made it impossible to accept. I am talking of course, of the Flashcard machine in the university library. 

Those familiar with printing at the university library know the usual routine: Making sure there is money on their FlashCard – or adding money to it – then going to a computer, uploading or finding their document, sending it to the printer, going to the printer, swiping their FlashCard, signing in and finally printing. The university library charges seven cents per page printed. However, I arrived at the Flashcard machine today, already knowing that I had $0.21 left on my card, enough to print three pages. I needed to print five. So with a pocket full of change, I swiped my card at the machine, only to find out that the machine only takes bills: $1, $5, $10 and all the way up to $20. Twenty dollars. Twenty dollars is more than enough print money to last two semesters; I know because the $0.21 I had left on my card was left over from the $20 I had deposited onto my card last fall semester. And yet, all I needed was 14 more cents and I would have had my notes for an upcoming presentation. So, this time, in hopes that I would not have so much money left over, I had brought two dimes, which still would have left me with extra money on the account. 

I think it is quite ludicrous that the university is squeezing every dollar out of us, but simultaneously is too good for the change in our pockets. It would rather us spend more money by upping the money in our pocket to the next dollar rather than taking the few exact cents we may need to simply print something out.