Saturday, September 29, 2007

Back-to-School Expenses

In September I had to pay dorm fees. It's the only money I have to pay to my college. This year the cost of living in the dorms slightly rose, at least for me.

In the past every student used to pay the same fixed amount of money, but this year the dorm fee correlates with one's electricity consumption, which is calculated on the number of electric devices one has in their room. In the beginning of September one was to make a list of devices and hand it in. Nobody knew if any formal checks would be made to verify the list. (I think now that such checks are probable but highly unlikely.) I honestly declared that I used a desktop computer, a printer, a microwave, a mini-stove, a fridge, a teakettle, a hair-drier and an iron. Even after my roommate paid me for the devices we share, I was still a person who seemingly paid more than anybody else. All my acquaintances decided that hair-driers, irons and printers were not worth mentioning, and as laptops were sort of inferior to desktops, they could be forgotten too. Some people were even surprised at my honesty. They told me I could have saved money by omitting several items. But I decided there were other ways of saving money, which would keep my conscience clear. At least now I know that everything I use is absolutely legal, so if any check occurs I'll be okay.

And, by the way, do you know how much I paid? It was only $246 for the whole year. I really find this sum very affordable, especially when I remind myself that I'm getting an education for free, and I'm paying only a fraction of the actual cost of living in the dorms. If I had come up with a blank list, I would have saved about $130. I personally think it's not worth the lying and tricking.


E.C. said...

Is this dorm fee what it costs to live there, or an additional fee on top of housing costs? It sounds incredibly cheap if that's the cost of housing.

Olga said...

Yes, that's the cost of housing. It includes all utilities and changes of bed clothes. It doesn't include meals, Internet access and laundry.

It's so cheap because my undergraduate degree is funded by the state. (Such students represent about 48% of the student body in Russia, decreased from 100% since USSR fall.) That means that I pay nothing for tuition and only a fraction of the living expenses. I don't even know what would be the actual cost of living in our dorms.

By the way, there's a law which states that the cost of living in a student dormitory cannot exceed some fixed amount of money. As of 2007, it's about $22 per year. It's ridiculous. This law probably dates back to Soviet times. Still, the students are usually charged more under different pretexts. For example, the rest of my $246 is some security fee and the electric bill.

The point is that we, in fact, don't value it like we should. If we decide to stay in Moscow after graduation, our rent will probably be no less than $500 a month. That's when we'll fully realize how lucky we were to have lived in this expensive city almost for free.

mattt said...

Good for you. This is about being honest AND protecting yourself from sanctions should official decide to check.

Beany said...

I am also honest sometimes to my own detriment. But I always tell myself that its worth it so I don't have my conscience picking on me.