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Paying for a free service

Official transcripts are often the golden ticket when it comes to applying for internships, graduate schools or a college transfer. Many institutions of higher learning require official transcripts be sent with applications along with recommendations and essays.

While requesting a transcript is a fairly painless process at USF, it is about to get more expensive. Starting next semester, it will cost students $8 to request a transcript, a $3 increase.

The extra $3 is a ridiculous charge for something students can access online for free. While transcripts accessed through OASIS with the SASS network are considered unofficial, they are the same information students are now paying to send to colleges and internship committees. Are the envelope and the USF seal placed on the flap really worth an extra three bucks?

Definitely not.

Also, when factoring in other fees associated with applications, this additional charge becomes even more unattractive. Applying to graduate schools is not cheap. If a student applies to an average of four, he or she will have to pay USF, the institution that already receives the tuition check, $32, as well as the various application fees the other colleges require. All these fees together can soon add up to more than $200. For a struggling college student, $32 in their pocket could be a couple of meals.

Student Services says the extra money will go toward creating a new Internet service that will allow students to request and track transcripts online. Three extra dollars seems a hefty price to pay for a service that isn’t really necessary. And $8 seems a hefty price to pay for information that is available for free already. Plus, how much do stickers and envelopes really cost? Maybe USF should investigate how to cut expenses before passing that cost on to students.