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Barrett, the Honors College: Is it worth it?

Are the perks of being a Barrett student enough to mask fees, harder classes and longer on-campus living requirements?

Barrett Aimee
Barrett, The Honors College, is pictured on Wednesday, Nov 4, 2015 on the Tempe campus.

Sushi, free printing, early registration and lectures from professors across the world are all perks that Barrett, the Honors College students get for a fee, but are the perks enough to justify semesterly fees and a two-year on campus living requirement. 

Barrett requires its students to pay a $750 fee per semester, which was a $250 increase in fall 2015. 

Alli Tooms, downtown Residential Student College Leader and Barrett Honors College Council Downtown representative, said that the fee increase was due to an increase in tuition. With the growing number of students coming to ASU, the program needs to be able to provide more resources.

“The fund gets you speakers coming from all around the world, amazing professors coming to give lectures, you get hands-on experience with anything in your field and that fee also gets you, in Downtown’s case, free printing. In Tempe’s case, you get the dining hall and the food,” Tooms said.

Along with a fee, students are required to take a year-long human events class their freshman year, 36 honors credit classes and at least 18 upper division credits throughout their college career.

Although Tooms said she believes that the required classes are beneficial for students, some students, like Barrett student Nicole Walker, sports journalism junior, can see how those can be a turn-off for students in Barrett.

“For the honors credit requirements you have to go out of your way to get those requirements," said said. "If you’re major doesn’t offer a ton then you have to do a lot of work on the side."

Sports journalism is a fairly new major at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and doesn’t offer many honors classes, which makes it difficult for Walker to fulfill those honor credits.

Barrett students are also required to live in campus housing for their first two years at ASU.

Peyton Carver, biochemistry sophomore, said she didn’t want to live in Barrett for the second year because she didn’t want the “dorm life" feeling again. She also thinks that because she’s an adult, she can choose where she wants to live.

However, Tooms said she thinks that the two-year living requirement is beneficial for Barrett students to create bonds between the upper class and lower class.

“The reason why we do have the two-year living requirement is so the freshman who come in feel supported,” Tooms said. “Student leaders are one thing, and it’s kind of that weird mentor relationship, but sophomores who aren’t necessarily student leaders can still provide more like a friendship support to incoming freshman.”

For housing and meal plans in Downtown Phoenix, Barrett students pay roughly $8500 to $9500 for housing and $2000 to $5000 for meal plans a year depending on the plan they choose.

For Barrett students on the Tempe campus, housing costs roughly $8000 to $10000 and meal plans cost around $3000 to $6000 again, depending on what plan they choose.

Many students do, however, find a way to get out of the two-year living agreement by living in AdelphiVista housing or simply requesting to live somewhere else.

Ava Montoya, public relations junior, decided to leave the honors college her second semester of sophomore year because she wasn’t utilizing the resources for the fee to be worth it. 

“It’s an extra fee, and I wasn’t taking advantage of it,” Montoya said. “I feel like a lot of people pay for the close knit circle of it, and I made other friends that weren’t Barrett. I wasn’t close with any of the professors, and I just didn’t really have a huge connection to it.”

Students collectively seem to agree that the Honors College is a program in which students get what they put into it.

“There are so many resources that Barrett provides for you that if you utilize them, you will make incredible connections," Tooms said. "Then you’re able to continue that into the professional world.”

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