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Student Protests Tuition by Paying in $1 Bills

One student, out of Utah, decided to stage his own personal form of protest by paying his tuition completely in $1 bills.

Elizabeth Hoyt

January 27, 2014

Student Protests Tuition by Paying in $1 Bills
Many students have become more than frustrated with the rising costs of tuition prices. In fact, studies indicate that the cost of a college education has practically doubled in the last ten years alone. One student, out of Utah, decided to stage his own personal form of protest by paying his tuition completely in $1 bills.

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According to Yahoo! News, Luq Mughal, 21, attends class up to ten hours a day Monday through Friday and works grueling 16-hour shifts at Home Depot to help compensate his tuition bills. And Mughal is a student lucky enough to have a scholarship – thanks to the fact that his father works at the university. "By no means am I the saddest story on campus. There’s a lot of people here just as bad and probably worse," Mughal told the Salt Lake Tribune. "The people making the prices are not actually aware of how hard it is on the students."

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When tuition bills were due, Mughal and other students waited in line for almost three hours – Mughal with a metal case with thousands of $1 bills enclosed.
“I had to pull some serious strings to even get everything to pay for my tuition this semester, and I wanted it to feel worthwhile,” Mughal told the Daily Utah Chronicle. “I decided that ... I would feel a little better if I did it like that.”

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Why pay in thousands of $1 bills? Mughal maintains the point was not to annoy or make life difficult for those working at the university. Instead, he was attempting to make a statement regarding the skyrocketing price of a basic college education – one that many students struggle to pay for. “When you spend cash, you feel every dollar that you hand over to someone else,” Mughal is quote as saying within a Yahoo! News article. “You feel that you’re losing that. If you just swipe your card, it could be 10,000 or 100,000 bucks and you don’t really feel it. When you actually slide over a huge pile of cash, you really feel like you’ve spent that. That’s your money, and you also want to make that worthwhile by doing well in school.” Technically, if not humorously, a few $5 bills were included within his payment because the three local banks he utilized for his payments actually ran out of $1 bills. According to reports, Mughal doesn’t want personal attention for his actions but, rather, to inspire other students to take similar action when paying tuition. His hope is that students doing so will cause universities to reevaluate the cost of a college education. “If everyone here brought a chest of money like this, I’m sure by the end of the day, there would be a lot of people talking about it that could actually make a difference in what we are paying for tuition,” told the paper. The growth of college tuition prices has far outpaced other industries, like health care, food and housing costs, according to a study by U.S. News and World Report. According to a recent report released by the Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt, which also appeared on CNNMoney, the average debt for a student in the class of 2012 was $29,400. Perhaps Mughal has the right idea. Perhaps, if students take action, colleges will finally get a much-needed wake-up call and adjust tuition prices accordingly.

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