Fashion students face costly requirements

Morgan Jupina

As a new semester emerges, Kent State fashion students dig deep into their pockets to cover the high costs of textbooks and other course necessities.

Sarah Pohan, junior fashion merchandising major, said each class requires students to purchase at least one large textbook and sometimes a few other smaller books as well. She said her most expensive book this semester was $165.

“When I first told my parents, they immediately told me to consider changing my major,” Pohan said.

Fashion books can range anywhere from $130 to $175, said sophomore fashion merchandising major Meagan Bond. She said she has taken six fashion classes and has needed a new book for each, in addition to a required $50 clicker.

Purchasing books from friends at a discounted price keeps a lot of the costs down for students; however, fashion students are forced to buy many of their books brand-new.

“Half of the time the textbook that is required has been updated from the year and even sometimes the semester before,” Pohan said. “It’s forcing the students to purchase the newest edition without any choice.”

Vanessa Robins, sophomore fashion design major, said she paid $145 for a reference guide used in her fabrics class. She said many students were planning to buy the fabrics book from a friend, but the edition had changed from fall semester.

“You get upset because you know only a few changes have been made to the book,” Robins said. “I understand fashion changes all the time and rapidly, but money does not grow on trees.”

Teachers also recommend students buy Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design Standard, computer software that helps create 2D illustrations of clothing garments called flats. Robins said she paid $235 for the software, though the computers have it downloaded at the fashion school.

“I like to have it on my own computer so if I have homework to finish I’m able to go to my room and do it,” Robins said. “Also, it will come in handy for internships where we have to include flats we made on Adobe in our portfolios.”

Alexa Krynicki, sophomore fashion merchandising major, said that one of her books requires an access code for a website that holds all of her extra credit opportunities. The code alone costs $100, Krynicki said, and is not even available if the book is rented. So to save money, she decided to sacrifice extra credit for a rented book.

Bond said the fashion professors have worked in high fashion corporations, so she trusts they know exactly what they need to teach, regardless of textbook prices.

“It’s such a specialized study,” Bond said. “You need only the best of the best knowledge to make it in the industry.”

J.R. Campbell, fashion director and professor, said the faculty discusses what materials should be used in the class, and they all typically try to choose the same books and to keep them consistent.

“We have to navigate the costs and what should be offered to our students in the curriculum,” Campbell said. “We try to be flexible when it comes to prices, but we will always choose the quality of a textbook over the cost.”

Contact Morgan Jupina at [email protected].