How to Save Money at Gordon College
by Kenneth Lowell, Jessica Ryan, Dylan Sciaba, Jordan Thibault and Toussaint Williams
As a private institution, Gordon College generally costs more than attending a state school even when scholarships and financial aid are taken into account. Gordon’s estimated cost for a single academic year (2017–2018) is $52,065.
Because of the high price tag Gordon students often find themselves trying to find ways to save money within their own budget as well as bending the systems that Gordon has in place. There are more ways to cut costs at Gordon than one might think.
First year students at Gordon College are often in the dark about some of the “tricks of the trade” when it comes to saving money at Gordon, and having a full meal plan is one thing that is not necessarily needed. The meal plan costs $1,500 per semester.
A large number of students end up selling many of their meal points because they don’t eat as much as the plan provides. Meal points only sell for a fraction of the price you spent on them so you will always be at a loss. Meal points don’t transfer on to the next academic year either so it can be a good idea to buy half a meal plan if you don’t have a large appetite.
When asked, Jamie Tafoya (class of 2019) said “Over winter break my team each got $400 to last us each of us four weeks. And most of the girls had $200”. This is one example of how it is often more beneficial to buy groceries, not only for financial reasons but for personal taste and allergies since Gordon doesn’t offer many options if you are gluten free, vegan or allergic.
Liv Stark (class of 2019) has food allergies and is gluten free; she said “I tend to spend $150-$200 a month on groceries, and that’s basically eating at home for all meals. I cook food, often pack leftovers for lunch, and eat small breakfasts”. For many students the full meal plan is completely unnecessary.
Another way to save money is to share textbooks. Instead of buying a book that will only be used a few times throughout the semester, work with another student in the class to share the book. Often the book may be completely unneeded.
“I only used one of my textbooks twice”, says Laura Paquette (class of 2019). “I wait for the first few days [of each semester] and if I need the book I’ll get it, but if I can get by without one, I wont go through the trouble of buying it”.
Another student says she shares her textbooks. “A lot of my friends and I are in the same classes”, says Amanda Wilson (class of 2019). “And if one of us has already bought the book, we split the the original cost of the book, and rent it from that person. It is very convenient and cheaper”.
Where students purchase books is also important to saving money. The campus bookstore is expensive when compared to other stores or rental services. Amazon.com and Chegg.com are often much cheaper than purchasing or renting textbooks at the Gordon bookstore.
For example, “Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey” by Mark Allan Powell is a required textbook for the New Testament class which is a core class. The Gordon bookstore sells this book new in hardcover for $44.99. Amazon.com sells the book in the same condition for $23.43.
Other options include e-versions of the books, used books, or soft covers. There are many ways to save money when it comes to textbooks.
When it comes to printing papers at Gordon, it is usually cheaper to use Gordon’s printers. Gordon charges 5 cents per sheet of printed paper. Depending on how much a student needs to print, this is a decent price.
Buying a new printer will run a minimum of $50 and that price rarely includes the cost of ink cartridges. Students should figure out how regularly they will need to use the printers and do the math to see if it is worth buying a printer or using Gordon’s printing services.
Perhaps the most extreme way in which students can save money is by living off campus. Living off campus is a decision that often expands beyond the desire to save money because it offers an entirely different college experience.
Caitlyn Alekshun (class of 2017) is studying psychology, neuroscience, pre-law and lives off campus.
When asked why she chose to live off campus, Alekshun said: “It was significantly cheaper than living in a dorm and I wanted more independence. I didn’t feel like dorm style living was something I wanted to do as a senior — I wanted a chance to get more real life experience as a small step towards adult life after college with paying bills and having rent to think about.”
When it comes to saving money, she said “[I] saved a couple hundred dollars a month compared to what on-campus housing cost. And buying your own food, you have the chance to save money ... I’d say just generally, you’d have to try pretty hard to pay more to live off campus than you would for a dorm.”
Alekshun says that she would “100%” recommend living off campus and says, “It’s such a different feel than a dorm and it gives you so much more freedom and a realistic feel for what life after Gordon will be like.”