It all adds up
One of the first things I did when I arrived this time around was to join the gym in the Sports Centre. £150 for unlimited use for a calendar year. It’s a well equipped gym, on a par with most small town gyms up and down the country. Pretty good value I thought
But then I REALLY stopped to think. Hang on, didn’t the gym use to be free in the seventies? Why are cash strapped students, who are already forking out large sums of money for tuition and accommodation, being asked to pay all these extras?
I was soon uncovering more examples. The bus from Keele into Newcastle was free (how else were ewe to get to Syd’s Bar, The Old Brown Jug or Slack’s the bookies?) but certainly isn’t any more. To get the bus (which, admittedly goes as far as Hanley) ranges from £1.50 for a one way single, to £299 – £600 for an annual pass depending on the type of bus you need
Then there’s the cost of printing and photocopying. While everything CAN be done electronically, the 6 printers on the main floor of the library are always busy, with prices ranging from 3p and 5p per single and double-sided black and white sheet to 10p and 19p respectively for colour printing
Joining clubs isn’t expensive in outside world terms, but just adds to the growing total. Joining the football club is £35. On top of this, in order to play for the University, you have to buy the club kit at a cost of £40. There’s also a range of personalised polo shirts, tracksuits etc. that are optional, but most players seem to have
Worst of all (so far) is the apparent need to buy a TV Licence in order to watch BBC iPlayer on a laptop or iPad. Admittedly this is not a university specific cost, but it was the first I’d heard of it. I was outraged and found out that it had become law on September 1. BUT there is a loophole and, for once, it seems to work in favour of students
It seems you are exempt if:
- You only ever use a device that is powered by its internal batteries to watch live TV or watch and download programmes on BBC iPlayer; and
- You have not connected it to an aerial or plugged it into the mains to receive TV; and
- Your permanent address (outside term time) is your parents’ home; and
- Your parents have a valid TV Licence
I don’t think this has been tested in court and I’m not sure I fall under this exemption, but I’m prepared to argue the toss!