The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Eye-popping book prices norm for students

TCC students ponder book prices. Clockwise from top left: Raquel Combs, NE bookstore; Golden Belinfante, South bookstore; Rachel Femmel, NW bookstore; Alejandero Juarez, SE bookstore.
TCC students ponder book prices. Clockwise from top left: Raquel Combs, NE bookstore; Golden Belinfante, South bookstore; Rachel Femmel, NW bookstore; Alejandero Juarez, SE bookstore.

By Mark Bauer, Rylie Parkins, Julissa Treviño, and Chris Webb/editor-in-chief, ne news editor, south news editor, and nw news editor

TCC students ponder book prices. Clockwise from top left: Raquel Combs, NE bookstore; Golden Belinfante, South bookstore; Rachel Femmel, NW bookstore; Alejandero Juarez, SE bookstore.
TCC students ponder book prices. Clockwise from top left: Raquel Combs, NE bookstore; Golden Belinfante, South bookstore; Rachel Femmel, NW bookstore; Alejandero Juarez, SE bookstore.

While community colleges such as Tarrant County College offer an affordable college education, with books, tuition, gas and other various expenses, the cost of a degree can get expensive.

For many, that means making sacrifices.

“When you’re dealing with something as important and expensive as college, you have to cut out a lot of the stuff that you want to do and just do what you need to,” NW Campus student Rachel Femmel said.

“I basically had to cut out all the fun.”

After her husband died, Femmel returned to school in order to become a physical therapist.

For her, she said, helping people has taken a priority in her life.

“I lost my husband to cancer. So after going through that, relieving pain in others’ lives is a lot more important to me,” she said.

Like so many other students, Femmel has become quite the juggler with her plans.

“It’s tough to keep up. Between working, going here and taking care of my kids, it can get pretty stressful. And the 20-mile drive here doesn’t help, either.”

While all students have their own reasons for being at TCC, many of them seem to agree on one thing: the books are too expensive.

After paying for three of her textbooks that were required, Femmel spent $400 on textbooks alone.

“I think I saved up enough, but everything costs more than you’d think it should,” she said. “Tuition could be cheaper, I guess, but these books are killing me.”

Alejandro Juarez, SE Campus student, experienced the same kind of sensation when he visited the bookstore.

“[The books] are mind-boggling expensive,” he said.

This is Juarez’s first semester at TCC, and he compared his initial reaction to book prices to a television commercial.

“It’s like the one with the lady whose eyes pop out,” he said. “Yeah, that was me.”

He wasn’t finished purchasing his books.

But when it is finally all added together, Juarez expects to pay at least $1,000 between books and tuition.

But, like Femmel, Juarez said he understands that sacrifices have to be made.

“I have other obligations to pay for, but I have to get over it,” he said.

For NE Campus student Raquel Combs, her tuition and $135 book costs are covered by the GI Bill as part of her compensation for her service in the U.S. military.

Combs enrolled at a university out of high school, but struggled soon after.

“I struggled to pay for college myself and had no help from my mom because she was a single mom,” she said. “I had to work a full-time job to pay for college and eventually dropped out.”

After taking a break from college life, Combs joined the military. As a result, the military helps cover her school expenses which, she said, takes the burden off her.

Combs lives with her mother, so her rent and utilities are covered.

She also lives reasonably close to the campus and spends only about $30 a month to get to and from school.

Although her expenses may not appear to be as extravagant as others, Combs firmly believes that attending TCC versus a four-year university is practical and cost effective.

“It’s beneficial to attend a community college to get your basics out of the way until you transfer and decide what you’re going to do,” she said.

But for students who don’t qualify for aid, they must pay for their education themselves—either through a job, a loan or their parents.

Golden Belinfante, South Campus student, works a full-time job during the day and goes to school at night. She said the total cost of books for her second semester was nearly as much as her tuition—$600.

“Books are so expensive, and I live on my own, so I have a lot to pay for,” she said.

Belinfante does get one break in expenses.

“I live down the street, so I don’t pay a lot for gas,” she said.

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