OPINION: Art students pay too much for supplies they need for their classes

 I recently switched majors from pre-med to journalism and graphic design, andfor the graphic design portion, I have to take some basic art classes. It’s pretty strange how much more art students have to pay compared to other majors for their supplies. 

When I was in pre-med, we had to buy lab books and some workbooks, which cost about $60 each semester. I also have friends in majors such as nursing that have to spend a similar, if not slightly higher, amount for their lab booklets and lab fees, which can cost upward of $100 each course.

Although these prices seem high, they are not as high as what an art student has to pay. Art students start out their semesters with general lists ranging anywhere from 10 to 25 items they need for each course. 

These items altogether can cost over $80, and that is just for the basic supplies for the course. As the course goes on, an art student usually has to buy more supplies as they are given more projects. 

Every major has supplies that students have to pay for out-of-pocket — from lab books to chemistry booklets to art supplies. However, especially for art students, this could be minimized. 

The major art store SIUE pushes students to purchase from is The Cage in Art and Design. While The Cage is more convenient because students are able to run and grab supplies, it is not convenient that most of the supplies are more expensive than stores off-campus such as Michaels and Walmart. 

The Cougar Store and The Cage are the most convenient places for students to purchase items. However, most of the prices are higher than they would be elsewhere. 

“As a full-time student, it adds to the financial strain of attending college. Because I am a full-time student I’m not able to work as much, and so then I’m working with limited resources, and if those resources are being spent on art supplies, which you need for your classes anyway, that takes away what you can afford otherwise,” freshman psychology and studio art major Alyssa Moore of Beloit, Wisconsin, said. 

If art students are going to be forced to buy a large amount of supplies every single semester, either the supplies provided for students should be at some sort of discount, or there should be some basic supplies already bought for students so they only have to purchase more specialty items that are needed as they progress in their studies. 

Ideally, students would not have to pay for any extra supplies outside of what they pay for in tuition. However, that cannot always happen. 

A lot of art students wish the fees were cut down so that students only had to pay a one-time fee at the beginning of their courses or that the school would make the art store on campus sell its items at a discounted price. 

While it is hard to make all extra supplies free for students, there probably is a way to give all students, not just students in art classes, some kind of break from constantly purchasing extra things on top of what they already pay. 

So SIUE, let’s help our students and take some of the added financial strain off their shoulders by providing supplies at discounted prices. 

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