By Tamera Reed
School fees are the last thing that a lot of parents think about when it comes to their child's education. Some parents actually wait until the last minute to pay their child's fees, or they let the fees add up over the entire time their child is in school. This is the case for students at MSA.
But that could be a big problem.
Student fees are what the school asks parents to pay to cover things like field studies, buses, and extracurricular activities. The fees are charged to student accounts by the front office. The fees include a annual fee for every year that a student attends the school, lunch fees for those students who pay for lunch, and other miscellaneous fees like damaged or lost books or buying a new lanyard or ID. Annual fees at MSA are about $245 per year. Lunch fees can be up to $2.50 per day, and lost or damaged books can cost more than $80. A new lanyard costs $2, a new ID costs $3, and a temporary ID costs $1 per day. All of these things can really add up.
There are many MSA students who have not paid all their school fees. MSA Office Manager Neil Cosman said 512 students at MSA have outstanding school fees. The total value of those fees, Cosman said, is $187,318.
That is enough to buy a house!
"Imagine what we could do with that money," Cosman said.
I interviewed everyone in my 5th period media class and asked if they owed student fees.
“Yes, [I owe] $75 for a book I didn’t rip,” said 11th grader Jovan Goolsby.
"I owe roughly $400 to $550 in lunch fees and I owe my institutional fee," Junior Andre Veasley said. That bill is for lunch fees as far back as freshman year, Veasley said.
There were also students who said they didn't owe fees. But of the 19 people I interviewed, only six said they definitely didn't owe any money.
“ I don’t owe fees because I pay whenever they tell me I owe money,” said 11th grader Cydne Curd.
Mr. Cosman said students and their parents have the option of payment plans for outstanding fees. And getting those bills paid is important--especially for 8th and 12th graders. Neither group can graduate without paying their fees first. While school fees are technically due on Oct. 15, Mr. Cosman said parents can make payment arrangements to spread costs across the school year. One student told me he pays $88 a month to pay off his fees.
I know I myself have a substantial amount that I need to pay off. Altogether, I owe $978. I owe $745 for school fees and $233 for lunch. The lunch added up because I started off paying $2.50, then I was told that my lunch had been reduced, then it went back to $2.50 without me even knowing. I think I have free lunch now, but I’m not really sure.
I plan to do like other students and pay a monthly amount until my debt is paid off. But we do need to take this seriously. Not paying our fees could hurt our future.
Who really wants to spend an extra year in school just because they didn't pay their fees? I know I don't!