To pay or not to pay: that is the question

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My first blog will be dedicated to the question that concerns me for a quite a long time. It all started when NU students were charged a fee for laundry. This fee was announced as mandatory rule and breaking this rule would lead to expulsion from the dormitory. It had a bomb effect. Students suddenly recalled their rights, they started to cite Student code of conduct, they provided examples of “really free-choice” American universities, they created so many memes like “at least USM will be billionaires in this country” or “seems like somebody from administration wants new jeep or house” and so on.

We all know that our NU is tuition-free. Actually, not only tuition – almost everything is free. I would say unprecedented free. Students don’t pay for study, for dormitories, for meal plan (during foundation year), books (as they are fully provided by library), applicants don’t pay for admission tests, senior students are provided with free IELTS, junior students are regularly sent to partner universities. Is there any university in Kazakhstan with the same conditions? Are there a lot of universities with such conditions at all? The answer is no. So for me establishing fee for laundry is absolutely reasonable. First, if the university provides free dormitory space, it does not mean that it has to pay ALL services. Secondly, some students (pardon me) do not change their bed-clothes for several months. Sure, charging a fee doesn’t resolve this issue fully, but might do it partially because of the “not to pay for nothing” approach. Moreover, I would say that it will be logical to charge students not only for laundry, but for parking, sport facilities, and dormitories as well.

Comparing with KBTU where I got my bachelor degree, I would say that we never had complaints about fees. We were grateful to pay for place in the dormitory, because it was much cheaper than renting an apartment (and our dormitory was half-city away from the university). We never had cheap meal plans. We didn’t have wi-fi. Our library was small and books were not always available.

So here is a question: why NU students having the best conditions in Kazakhstan are the most complaining ones? What if providing free services spoils students? I do not have an answer for this question, but hope that one day those complaining students will realize how privileged they were and that their complaints were unreasonable.

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4 thoughts on “To pay or not to pay: that is the question

  1. I absolutely agree with you! NU students complain a lot. They tend to forget about grants, scholarships, free books, free trips abroad, dorms etc. I remember from my work experience that occasional help for students with printing services led to the fact that students perceived this help for granted, and when the school administration decided that’s enough, students began to complain and ask for more. May be it is the university and administration who at the earlier stages baby-sit them, but since then university community enlarged a lot, so it seems to be normal to present some fees for some services available at NU.

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  2. Thanks for bringing up this issue. I do agree with you that providing free services for students makes them take it for granted. I assume that free dormitory and other services are sort of marketing tools to attract the best talented students of Kazakhstan to NU. I remember that in 2003 the Gumileyev ENU offered the Altyn Belgi students with free dormitory (so called new Student House) and even a summer trip to Borovoy for two weeks or so. It was very appealing. In 3-4 years later this adminission honeypot was cancelled and everyone had to pay. In the case of NU, I guess that it might be changed as soon as the the university builds its reputation based on its graduates. I would suggest the free dormitory and other priviligded services shall be provided to those who have financial issues or work for residence life.

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    1. I also support your view in that we probably have spoiled our students. Some of them seem not to value what they have. I compare it to children whose parents spoiled their kids by giving everything they ask for, and in the end they just don’t value it and take it for granted. They grow up with the feeling that there is no need to work hard to get something. Since, for most of our students, it’s the first time they are away from home, and they haven’t seen anything, but NU, they take all for granted and are not aware of the situation in all other mainstream institutions. Therefore, it might help to remind them of how privileged they are and that they should be thankful for what they have. And I also hope that most of our students are patriots of our country and will work hard for the prosperity of Kazakhstan.

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  3. NU is one the great universities that provides education for students with world class standards. The programs we are studing costs a lot, its difficult to immagine, to calculate. I am sure the price is high. Its really pitty that from year to year we are growing spoilt generation with ready-to-use facilities. And in NU everything is ready, and you only have to pay laundry fees that is about 5200. For Astana citizens it is not a lot, as long as everything is really expensive in contrast to other cities of Kazakhstan. So, NU students can spend that money in one night, for instance, by going to movie, having evening meal at KFC. But NU administration changes fee laundry for the whole semester, it is not a lot. So, shame on students who complaining!

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