The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The cost of culture

Is N.C. A&T too money hungry?
Gabriel Woodard
N.C. A&T’s student center

The “leading HBCU” or a misleading experience? N.C. A&T students bring awareness to the school’s attempt to balance the needs of students and the desire for funds.

N.C. A&T, a leading historically black university in producing Black STEM graduates is continuously innovating and introducing something new on campus. 

The students see this and some start to wonder “Is my university only looking at the upkeep of its personal image or what it takes for each and every student to be successful?”

“I’m a fifth-year student and it’s a major difference between 2019 and now. You can really see how the school doesn’t care about many of our issues as students” said Damian Day, a senior social work student.

On Oct. 17, 2022, A&T was ranked America’s No. 1 HBCU by UniversityHQ. The universities in this evaluation were ranked on 11 factors, including admission, retention, graduation rates, cost of tuition and graduate salaries.

Considering these categories and the efforts of A&T, I can see where they have improved in the past four years but also where they continue to lack. 

“They do a really good job making the school look really good and cohesive,” said Adam Naylor, a third-year fashion merchandising and design student. “However, when you get here you quickly realize some of the money that we get is not in the place where it should be.”

I have participated in the biggest organization on campus, The Blue and Gold Marching Machine, along with engaging in campus organizations and a consistent work-study job. With these efforts came a lot of insight.

I was able to see that A&T places certain people and entities higher than others based on relationships. 

I’ve also experienced that attempting to get direct answers from people at A&T is extremely difficult but when it comes time for A&T to receive answers for where their money is, they have no problem finding students. 

According to A&T’s website, in-state students pay an average tuition bill of $6,000 and an out-of-state student pays about $20,000. 

These billing statements include charges for additional fees, outside of tuition. 

Along with other students, I question these fees because some of these services are either not provided or not necessary to me.

“[The athletics fee] doesn’t need to be on our tuition bill, we have absolutely nothing to do with that,” said Armani Ross, a sophomore mass communications student. 

“If you are going to charge people, charge the athletes, even if they are on a scholarship because we have nothing to do with that,” she continued. 

There are students, along with myself, who believe student fees are used to pay for an experience. 

When it comes to college, it is always said to be whatever you make it. Student fees like the shuttle service should not be paid by students who do not use it, but there are also some pretty helpful things that come out of the other fees.

“I don’t think A&T is money hungry because I feel like a lot of things we are getting [are] quality,”  said Joshua Parris, a senior liberal studies pre-law student. “Compared to what other schools have, as students I think we are paying for culture.”

Yes, we may be paying for an amazing culture, but is the culture worth the fees that come with partial to no reward?

When it comes to the on-campus amenities such as A&T’s bookstore, which is contracted through Barnes & Noble, money still seems to be the objective. 

One pair of sweatpants are $95, one hoodie is $65 and a cup with the A&T emblem is $25.

These are great ways for students to show off their Aggie Pride but they aren’t given that opportunity when they are forced to see the price of the item rather than the quality, all because it contains the A&T symbol.

There are some services on campus that the student body has yet to discover because of the lack of transparency and communication between A&T and its students. 

A&T received $90 million in funding to build the 130,000-square-foot engineering facility, known as the Martin Complex. The state-of-the-art building comes with open-concept laboratories, high bay areas and maker spaces.

Since the Feb. 11 ribbon-cutting ceremony, students are still gradually finding out about the open spaces for all students in this building such as study rooms and Martin’s café. 

When it comes to making sure that students of all demographics are well taken care of, A&T sometimes looks over the most deserving students. The new engineering building has sent A&T as a whole, into a new dimension when it comes to producing STEM graduates. 

This accomplishment has given A&T a lot for the university to receive new opportunities and equipment for its students, yet many students are not pleased with how A&T has distributed its “wealth.”

“I don’t understand why A&T has allocated iPads to only certain organizations at certain times,” H’arrya Canty said.

“I am a theater student in the class of  ‘24. And I performed as Deena Jones, in the only performance that has sold out Harrison Auditorium, the award-winning musical Dreamgirls. she said. 

“Not only did the shows sell out but we performed for the original Ms. Jones, Sheryl Lee Ralph.”

Students put in a lot of work for the culture and look of this campus and what you’d think would be a reward for their work. The Blue and Gold Marching Machine clocked countless hours on a field that was a dust bowl in the summer and a mudhole when it rained. 

After the hard work the BGMM puts in, it took three years for A&T to recognize the fact that the students have worked hard enough for an iPad. Class of ‘25 and other organizations and associations on campus received iPads with the requirements of simply being a student.

A&T’s website states many reasons A&T has an upper hand when it comes to what students will walk away with at the end of their college experience. 

One of the points includes “shaping your character, making you a leader whose goals go beyond personal achievements and include a passion for making a difference in the lives of others and the world we all share.” 

This is a great objective but why hurt students looking for an opportunity to flourish and network in the process? Money is already the root of all evil, why let it get in the way of the development of the next generation? 

N.C. A&T is making it hard for students to see where their dreams are being given all the tools they need to succeed. Money seems to be the driving factor in their college experience and it would be great to see an academic journey go from ordinary to extraordinary. 

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