Students Struggle to Save Money

Students Struggle to Save Money

Sara Moriarty, Feature Editor


College students often find it difficult to come by and difficult to save; they are notoriously broke.

Jobs on campus often pay minimum wage, which is better than nothing, but still may leave some students low on funds to go out or take an impromptu trip anywhere off campus. Often, students are stressed about money because they have to take out student loans, and some may already be anticipating debt when they graduate. Christmas and birthday money frequently goes toward textbooks instead of shopping with friends.  Some students forego purchasing required textbooks because of the prices.

“Well, most of my money goes toward concerts,” sophomore nursing student Jennifer Robertson said. “But I feel as if I’m constantly spending my whole paycheck, even though that’s not true. It’s easier to save meal card money.”

Robertson indeed has a lot of roll over on her meal plan, and she is not the only student who feels like she’s spending too much money on a few nights out. The meal plan system at Pace should be easier and more customizable to each students needs to avoid massive amounts of rollover for certain students and to allow for other students to have funds that will last them all semester. Some students waste money this way, while others run out and are forced to spend from their personal savings account or go hungry.

Robertson’s on-campus work study job pays 25 cents over minimum wage.

“When I’m here (in residence halls on campus), I save money due to staying on campus more. I don’t really feel guilty about splurging on concerts themselves,” Robertson said.  “The guilt comes from paying transportation in addition to the ticket. A concert ticket for $30 automatically becomes over $50 because I need to get into Manhattan from the Pleasantville station to Grand Central.  Not a ‘treat yo self’ moment.”

Just one trip to New York City from Pleasantville by Metro North costs nearly $20. By the time you get to the city, a slice of pizza and soda ranges from two dollars to about seven dollars, and then there’s the concert ticket or the nightclub charge. One night out with friends can easily add up to over $100, a sum that many students may not readily have.

Textbooks pose another issue entirely. Those who are lucky might spend less than $100 on books and supplies, but then there are the students who have no choice but to spend upwards of $500 every semester.

“What really bothers me is that the bookstore shouldn’t be so expensive,” senior communications major Raven Rafiq said about the Pace University Bookstore. “I’m not just talking about textbooks, either. Planners, notebooks, packs of highlighters, index cards, it’s way overpriced.”

Every time a new semester rolls around, social media newsfeeds are filled with complaints and jokes about how expensive textbooks are; one example is the caption of “this is what buying textbooks feels like” under a picture of burning money.

“We pay enough for Pace, and every year tuition is going to keep going up,” Rafiq continued. “But if you notice, Chegg books also have gotten more expensive, probably because more people know about it now. It won’t be long before students start looking for another, cheaper website to rent books.”

Scrolling through tweets about textbooks or talking to anyone on campus will go to show that textbooks aren’t used enough to make the price worthwhile. This does not go for everyone, but many students feel that buying required books aren’t worth their money. Some students buy the textbook just to be able to write a research paper at the end of the semester, while others decide to save their money and try their luck at going through the semester without any book.

Either way, money remains a main issue. Undoubtedly, more students would purchase, and therefore use, textbooks if they were cheaper. Likewise, students would utilize access to New York City more often if trains were cheaper.

“It really doesn’t make sense to have a bookstore in Pace if everything is going to be over priced. People could get their books instantly before class started if it wasn’t for the bookstore’s high prices,” Rafiq said.

There is the option for free Pace bus transportation to New York City, and there are options to rent textbooks instead of buy them. However, it would be beneficial if students did not need to spend any money on books at all. This is probably a stretch, but a solution for students to save several hundred or even thousands of dollars every semester is to allow for free book access online with any university password. It would be wonderful to be able to spend the money put aside for textbooks on traveling or saving money in order to be able to maintain a non-paid internship.

But, no matter what changes or stays the same, college students will probably always remain notoriously broke.