Students pile unknown fees while in school

Guidance warns seniors that they need to pay what they owe in order to graduate


David Worland

Senior Nick Thompson

Lyndsay Valadez, Reporter

He knows the school sent home notices about his fees, because that’s what the school does. However, senior Nick Thompson cannot remember a single notice about those costs he must pay in order to graduate, being sent home before his senior year.

Thompson is not the only student this has happened to. Students have accumulated fees over the years unknowingly. Guidance counselor Tricia Bender says that students need to be aware of fees at all times.

“The biggest thing…not only in school, but in life in general, is to make sure you are on top of your finances and to make sure you pay attention to what is coming and going,” Bender said. “… because you don’t want to ever be surprised by something if you haven’t looked at it.”

Bender says that some students don’t know that they have to reapply for the free and reduced lunch every year. Senior Jasmine Harrison wasn’t sure why her lunch fees had racked up. She thought that maybe people, in general, brought in more money at home, so they raised the free and reduced income limit.

Similarly, a large part of Thompson’s fees has been from lunch. Earlier on in his high school career, he was signed up for free and reduced lunch. Later on, he was taken off of the free and reduced lunch list without knowing, assuming it was from the raise his mom received.

“I don’t remember getting any notices until this year,” Thompson said.

Bender says it is more common for students with fees to find out in person senior year, because in order to graduate, all fees must be paid, so that is when they really sit down with students to make sure everything is under control.

Harrison found out about the fees slightly earlier than Thompson. She found out just last year and thinks they need to send out an email to parents so that they can reapply for free and reduced lunch and know about any debts. Harrison says her single mother will try to pay off the debts by the end of the school year. Although the fees are not what Harrison considers to be a lot of money, they are more than expected. With three children, it becomes harder for her mother to pay each debt.

“I think it’s like 40 cents a lunch, but that can really add up,” Harrison said. “Especially when your mother has three kids here at the school.”

Thompson, like Harrison, realized that money does add up fast. He hadn’t paid textbook rental fees, because he thought he was being helped through the free and reduced lunch. Throughout the years he has built up $1000 in fees. He is planning on paying these through his current job and after receiving tax money.