By Melanie Perez
For a school that is so expensive – easily $50,000 a year when accounting for tuition, room and board, and a meal plan – it is sometimes really difficult to see where our money is going (even if a lot of students are attending FDU on financial aid or scholarships).
From the outside, it looks like our campus is falling apart. The hot water doesn’t work in some faucets, some buildings have leaks, a lot of the furniture is either stained or ripped, there is rarely soymilk in Jeepers and Dickinson Café, there are still tube televisions in some communal areas, the lindens and courts have outdated bathrooms, and the Wi-Fi bandwidth is not strong enough to accommodate the campus population.
It is easy to see where the money goes on the Florham campus. Students I’ve spoken to tend to think that Metro’s tuition is going to Florham. Their Fitness Center is almost triple the size of Metro’s, and they have an indoor swimming pool, multiple bars and well-maintained antique architecture.
I understand that the Metro campus is supposed to look more modern, to keep in line with the feel of being in a metropolitan area, but now all of the buildings that were once considered modern look outdated.
The campus feels dull with the linoleum flooring and cinderblock walls. The only building that looks truly updated and modern is Dickinson Hall.
Yes, they’ve updated some bathrooms in the Courts, gotten new computer labs, replaced campus signs and improved the overall landscape of the campus, but it seems minimal compared to all of the other prevailing issues.
Some of the money goes to salaries, some of it goes to facilities and electricity, some of it goes to Internet and cable, and some of it goes to programming. But it seems like the average student doesn’t reap the benefits associated with a high tuition.
Both academic honors programs, Honors and Global Scholars, as well as Sands of Time students, reap the benefits of their tuition through free events and trips, in addition to increased opportunities for internships and networking.
But what about everybody else?
Why don’t we have more frequent free trips into the city so we can individually schedule outings?
Why doesn’t school offer some free Broadway tickets raffle-style to the “general population” rather than specifically for Honors and Global Scholars students?
Why not build a cool new sport facility with money set aside from the master plan?
Why not update dorm furniture?
Why not paint crosswalks on university property for improved on-campus road safety?
Although in practice FDU’s non-academic spending for students might be on par with other schools, that doesn’t change the fact that there is an apparent disconnect between what students are paying to attend, and what students think they’re getting for their money.