The Hamline Review: Part 1

So now that the old college career is officially in the can, I am going to give an overview of the three biggest factors in my education: money, homework, and classes.

First, money: How much did it cost to get a Bachelor’s Degree from Hamline University?

I was a transfer student. Specifically, I attended Century College from 2000-2002, where I earned an Associate’s Degree. So when I walked into class at Hamline on that first day in September 2009, I was, essentially, already half done. I was more or less a Junior. Thus, the numbers that follow are really only half the story.

Back in 2009, Hamline charged $869.71 per credit. Since I was in a four-credit class, the bill for the class alone was $3,478.85. But as a new student, there were additional fees, such as the cost of transferring in my credits and other filing fees. These totaled over $250. Also, since my employer would be reimbursing me for the course, I delayed payment until the end of the semester, though this generated a monthly fee of around $15 a month. And once I finally did pay, there was an additional “convenience” fee that cost me around $40.

Most classes also required the purchase of books. As an English major/History minor, I was lucky to be involved in two disciplines with relatively cheap books. The most any class cost me for books was $116.95. In fact, the books for my first class at Hamline, which was a History class, only cost me $32.95. In contrast, the books for one Chemistry class back at Century were over $240…and that was nearly a decade earlier.

All told, that first course at Hamline cost $3,860.95. My employer paid for the tuition and the books, so I was only on the hook for the fees and interest. I thus received a check from my employer for $3,511.80, and I paid $349.15 out-of-pocket.

That was almost the most I ever paid for a class. Subsequent classes were less pricey. They did not have all those “new student” fees. I also took a couple summer courses, which didn’t accrue as much interest (since they were shorter), and were only half the cost of fall/winter/spring courses. When I could, I paid for the courses using my savings account, which didn’t extort a “convenience” fee. And for ten of my eighteen courses, I was able to use Federal and/or State grants. All of this reduced my costs. For example, a summer course I took in 2014 only cost me $45.61 total.

But Hamline increased the cost of their credits every single year I was there. What cost $869.71 in 2009, was up to $1,040.00 by 2012, and $1,190.00 by 2016. Generous as my employer was, they only reimburse up to $8,000 per year – a benefit that did not increased a single cent during my eight years of using it. Thus, during my last three years at Hamline, my costs exceeded the reimbursement cap. I was able to mitigate these increasing costs for a while, thanks to government grants, but those decreased every year.

By my final school year, my last two courses were $4,760 each. The first one was, of course, reimbursed, but the one was not, leaving $1,664.48 (including interest and books). A government grant brought my total down to $373.48, making it the most expensive class I took while at Hamline. It’s a good thing I finished when I did: a class this fall would have cost me over $4,100 out-of-pocket.

All told, the 69 credits I accrued at Hamline cost $65,394.85.  Then there were $1,034.80 for books and $1,728.83 for interest and various fees. This brought the grand total to $68,158.48. The Federal and Minnesota governments footed the bill to the tune of $12,424.00. My employer reimbursed me $53,676.74, meaning that my total cost was $2,057.74, an average of $29.82 per credit, or $257.22 for every year I attended.

Not a bad price, really. Especially in America.

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