Late Exam Schedules Mean High Travel Costs


By Emma Rudd, Contributing Writer

The holiday season is a time for college students to return home to their loved ones. It is also a time for students to recover from the hardships of a semester away after they’ve suffered through the final wave of essays, tests and stress. Unfortunately, this year — like in past years — the NYU final exam schedule coincides with peak holiday travel times, when travel ticket prices and related stress levels peak. Given the possibility of late-term changes in scheduling, it’s difficult for the average student to avoid these costs by purchasing tickets in advance, forcing them to accept the excessive holiday prices if they wish to return home for winter. In light of the increasing cost of college attendance, particularly of tuition and fees, NYU should consider every option to minimize additional expenditures for students, including cost of travel due to inconvenient finals scheduling.

According to an airfare analyst, the ideal time to purchase flights for this holiday season was Oct. 5 to 12, two and a half months before the university-wide final exam dates, Dec. 19 to 23. In the early points of November, prices are found to have increased by 11 percent and become increasingly expensive as Christmas nears. If one chooses to buy their tickets home around this time, tickets can be an average of 50 percent more expensive than during non-holiday travel times. With the NYU student body representing all 50 states and a total of 83 countries, there is no doubt that the cost of travel affects the majority of students at NYU, especially those traveling internationally who already face steep airfare prices.

While a great deal of northeastern universities surrounding NYU have similar exam schedules — Columbia University has its during the same dates, Boston University has its Dec. 16 to 21 and Georgetown University has its slightly earlier on Dec. 12 to 20 — none of them boast a graphically diverse student body as considerable as NYU’s. Additionally, universities further south maintain exam scheduling much further from the holiday season — University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is holding its finals week from Dec. 9 to 16 and University of Virginia from Dec. 8 to 16. Other schools prove that rearranging the finals schedule to make it easier for student travel is possible.

The exam season is stressful enough for students without the additional worry of planning an affordable trip home for winter break, and while our neighboring universities have chosen to follow a similar schedule, earlier exam dates are certainly possible. Starting the fall semester a week earlier and ending a week earlier could significantly lower the cost of holiday travel tickets for students. NYU starts its semesters later in the fall to get around national breaks like Labor Day, but it would make sense to just move the semester a week ahead and end the semester a week earlier. NYU must consider the effects of scheduling on student expenses before it implements an exam session so near the holidays.

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Email Emma Rudd at [email protected]