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Wednesday, December 6, 2023


Supplies, fees tax art students

Students in the Department of Art say they are paying more out of pocket expenses for materials in addition to rising tuition costs.

With the expenses going mostly to course materials, some students said they are questioning why they pay so much out of pocket.

"Depending on what class you are taking, your art supplies can run you about $100 to $200 (per semester), but what makes it worse is that when you run out of supplies you have to go back to purchase more," studio painting senior Leo Mary said. "I am currently taking life drawing and intermediate drawing which, generally needed, would be a sketch pad, all kinds of charcoal (jumbo, fine, vinyl), white conte crayons, graphite pencils, sharpeners, erasers, ruler, pastels, a portfolio, blue tape and a sketchbook. I would say that the most expensive materials in this list would be the sketchpad and the portfolio. Any other materials run you about $1 to $9 each."

Photography majors complained that they have to pay a bit more out of pocket for their classes.

"I pay about $400 a semester for two classes: photography and silk screening," photography junior Tilly Kamin said. "That’s not even including the student fees I pay each semester. There’s so many of us photography majors in credit card debt."

Last summer, the UH System Board of Regents approved a 6.9 percent increase in tuition and fees for fiscal year 2008 at $3,144, from $2,942 in fiscal year 2007. For an intermediate photography course, one class fee starts at $100 in addition to the department’s $100 fee, according to the list of fees on the University Web site.

"Those fees can add up. Add that to the amount we pay out of pocket, it can become a little ridiculous," painting sophomore David Dawkins said.

Assistant advisor of the Department of Art Tamara Cobb said scholarships provide some relief for students.

"Besides financial aid, there are a couple of scholarships out there to help, but not many," Cobb said. "They’re usually not available to freshman, and there’s no general art scholarship."

Even though art majors said they pay a good amount out of pocket, some said they feel the costs are justified.

"I believe the art school is good because it weeds out the weak and gives a good name to the school for being hard," Dawkins said. "We pay a lot of money but at the end of the day if it’s what you love to do then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem."

Not all students said they feel the same.

"Some of the expenses are fair, but when we have to do block presentations, they ask us to prove that our work is worthy by spending more money," Kamin said. "We have to use the best paint, the fanciest paper and other things. That’s not the point. It’s supposed to be art."

Most art classes don’t require textbooks, but instead require supplies for class.

Students are allowed to apply once a year to the Department of Art, and if not accepted must wait another year to apply.

"I took graphic communications and I hated waiting for a whole year just to get in and I felt like I was wasting money," Mary said. "When I decided to change my major to painting, I found myself spending money but for good reason because I enjoyed what I was doing. Any block program is difficult to get into. The most difficult ones are graphics applications and photography. Yes, it truly tests your skill and desire to obtain what major you want the most."

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