Yearbooks are expensive. But generally, students are happy to fork over money, understanding that in return they will receive a hard copy of good memories.
That’s not the case with Southern University in Louisiana where the last yearbook issued was for the 2007-2008 academic year.
According to a report released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, Southern University has collected $817,000 from students for yearbooks, and charged $233,699 in expenses to the yearbook account. The reports shows that the expenses included cameras, computers and office supplies.
Allen Brown, the assistant legislative auditor who supervised the investigation, told ABC News that the university did not do anything illegal, but they did unduly charge students.
“Money is tight and students are being asked to pay more, so if you are paying for a yearbook you ought to get one,” said Brown.
The yearbook for the 2007-2008 year was not released until 2011. No books have been published for succeeding classes.
From 2003 until the spring of 2012, students were charged 37.50 annually in yearbook fees—$15 for each semester and $7.50 for the summer, according to the report.
Some students at the university don’t feel they have been treated unfairly.
Chance Blouin, who will be a senior at Southern University this fall and is also a member of the student government, told ABC News he was not particularly angry that he was charged for non-existent yearbooks.
“I would love to have a yearbook and I know it will come out, but I know it takes time for certain things,” he told ABC News. He said his friends harbored similar sentiments.
He said that “75 percent off the school probably wouldn’t care, but that’s from my personal experience.”
But the auditor disagreed. “It’s called a yearbook, not an every four year book.”
Fred Batiste, the publications adviser for student media at Southern University, said in the report that the yearbooks were not produced because of staff shortages. Two editors-in-chief had resigned, he said.
Heather Freeman, who is currently director of student media, was hired in 2012 and says in the report that a collective yearbook will be issued this fall, encompassing all academic years from 2008 to the present.