With tuition fees on the rise, it’s easy to get caught up in the number without actually knowing what you’re paying for.
Besides unit fees, tuition includes a health fee that provides students with access to health center services.
According to a 2008 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, roughly 20% of college-age students are uninsured and 57% of schools offer a health plan.
Even if you have insurance, you should still see what your health center can provide at little or no cost.
At California State University Northridge, $56 of total tuition costs go towards health fees, according to Sharon Aronoff, the Health Educator at the school.
Students at the Klotz Health Center are provided with free basic services including primary care, x-rays and in-house lab services. Low cost services include 50 minute massages for $29, pharmaceuticals and even $2 for a dozen condoms.
Aronoff shares her advice for students trying to get the most out of their health center:
1. Be proactive about your health
2. There’s something for everybody. Find the best way to work the system and take advantage
3. Always look to your health center first to find the best way to save money
Aronoff recalls one student who had insurance but opted to buy the medication she needed from CSUN instead. It was a third of the price she had been paying.
While some schools such as CSUN only offer health center services, UCLA offers UC SHIP, an insurance plan that gives students access to a wider array of services with low, if any, co-payments.
Even if you attend a community college, you still pay a small fee and it’s worth the trip to find out how much you can get for your buck.
Pierce College offers prescription and laboratory tests at low cost and supplies students with free single doses of over-the-counter medications in addition to feminine products, condoms and band-aids.
Most centers offer free counseling for issues ranging from alcoholism to stress relief.
Though most centers are limited to working hours, some such as the Klotz Center offer referral services with neighboring hospitals at minimal costs.
With the convenience of making appointments online, accessibility (it’s right on campus!) and low costs, it’s advantageous to research what services might work best for you.
Even though you might be insured and healthy, it never hurts to take advantage of something you’ve already paid for.
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