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Pittsburgh, PA 15217










Monday, August 23, 2004

Negatively Charged
CMU just sent out a letter to all students that, effective pretty much immediately, it will no longer accept credit cards for payment of tuition and related costs. This is because, they say, it cost the school $800,000 last year to process credit cards.

Obviously students need to pay for these things via credit card, else they would have already found another way to do it, right? And obviously, if there was that amount of fees, a large number of students are using their credit cards to pay their fees (which include the outrageous health insurance costs).

Now, if students need this service but it is costing the school too much, the school should have either:

  1. gone to the credit card companies and negotiated a deal. CMU could have said, "Cut us a deal or we walk." The credit card companies would have wanted some money rather than none. We do have a great business school that teaches this stuff. OR
  2. pass some or part of the fees onto the students who are using the credit cards. OR
  3. some combination of both.

Any of these would have been a better solution instead of the administration just throwing up their hands and going, Oh well, let's stop offering this. In fact, it's contemptible that nothing else was attempted. Sometimes the administration forgets that the whole reason the university exists is the students and that they are here to help support them in every way possible. Which means finding solutions that keep the school solvent while still helping students attend.

posted at 04:32 PM in cmu, money | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Cost of Student Health
I made the mistake this morning of looking to see how much my student health insurance will cost me next year. This past year, it cost me the ridiculous sum of ~$6000 USD. Next year, if I want the same coverage (which, as I'll relate, is pretty crappy), it will cost me ~$9000 USD. That's not a typo. $9000. The year before I began, it was around ~$4000. So in effect, it has doubled in two years.

All I have to say is: What. The. Fuck.

Actually, that isn't all I have to say. This is an outrageous thing to foster on students who are already paying a huge amount of tuition. Especially since even this high-cost coverage isn't all that great. My wife went to a doctor who made her pay the full amount of her visit up front, since this insurance company apparently doesn't always pay the doctors. And this was a doctor in the plan. And we're not talking some high-quality coverage here, choosing your own doctors and all that with them footing the bill for everything; this is just a glorified HMO.

Split between the three of us in my family, we'd each have to spend $3000 next year in medical bills to make this worth our while. Which, unless one of us was hospitalized, would be hard to do. So, we're basically going to have to go with the lesser (much lesser) plan, affectionately called the "hit by a bus" health plan. This will still cost us ~$3000 USD a year and the coverage will be craptacular.

It's pretty lousy to have to put your family's health at risk to attend school.

posted at 03:52 PM in cmu, money | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Laptops for Everybody!
The word is that all CMU design grad students are getting Powerbooks next year instead of the Mac desktops we've had in the past. (Since I had a laptop and CMU is pretty thoroughly wired, I think I turned on my desktop twice last year.) This is pretty sweet--especially for incoming people who don't have to fork over the $2500 in hardware and software like I did last year. Now, if CMU could only be like Duke and give us all free iPods...

posted at 11:02 AM in cmu, money | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Monday, October 27, 2003

Mo Money

I had to take out another student loan. Seems I didn't count on CMU charging me the $6000 I owe for family health insurance this year up front.

Note to future student loan applicants: if you say that you need the money for two semesters, they dole it out over the two semesters. This might seem obvious writing it this way, but it wasn't. My $10k was split into $5k chunks, leaving me to put the balance of my health insurance on a credit card and hope that eventually, it all comes out in the wash.

Another note: getting these things requires a lot of jumping through hoops and faxing them strange stuff like a copy of my driver's license. There has got to be an easier system. It needs some designers.

posted at 08:34 PM in money | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Petty Cash

Design school isn't like regular school. It's more like preschool, supplies-wise.

  • Money spent on books: $0.00
  • Fonts: $21.00
  • Blue pencils: $5.00
  • Misc. Art Supplies: $50.00
  • Blank CDs and covers: $19.00
  • Supply case to hold this stuff: $17.00
  • Portfolio case: $12.00

It does add up. Slowly.

posted at 10:22 PM in money | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Thursday, June 26, 2003


I've debated whether or not to put boring stuff like tuition and student life stuff on this blog, and have decided to include them. This is the age of transparency, and it isn't fair to tell all the benefits of going to school without the costs. Literally the cost. I just paid my first tuition payment for summer session. Cost for the six-week Communication Design Fundamentals class (and accompanying "software bootcamp"): $2016.00. Which is a drop in the bucket compared to the $14100.00 I have to pay for Fall Semester. Which doesn't include health insurance, activites fees, books, or beer.

posted at 01:50 PM in money | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, June 4, 2003


We've been informed that we should be familiar with the following programs prior to starting school in the fall:

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Flash
  • Director
  • InDesign
  • Dreamweaver/HTML Authoring
Well, 2 out of 6 isn't bad, since I know Photoshop and Dreamweaver. (What, no Visio?!?) During summer session in the afternoons, we're supposed to have "software bootcamp," but from all reports, not much is learned during the 90 degree Pittsburgh summer afternoons. I'm going to have to step through the tutorials myself, especially Flash. I ordered with my new laptop Macromedia Studio MX (they are having a great sale right now). I guess I'll try to learn those myself over the summer. But I don't want to cough up the massive cash for the Adobe titles. I'd spend like $2000+ in software.

posted at 12:13 PM in money, software | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Friday, May 30, 2003

Health Insurance

I'm currently very stressed about CMU's egregious Health Insurance rates. To insure my family will cost nearly $6000 a year--a substantial chunk of change, especially when tacked onto the $28,000 tuition. And when you consider I will be making, oh, zero dollars in income. Even if I went with the cheapest ("hit by a bus only") option, it would still be $3000 a year. Insurance rates have DOUBLED in two years at CMU. It's not right. They should be subsidized, like they are for the staff and faculty of CMU. I find it hard to believe these are the best rates that could be found for a group of several thousand people.

posted at 03:20 PM in money | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link





All straight lines circle sometime. - The Weakerthans