YALE-NUS COLLEGE – Scrolling through a never-before-accessed file on his courses’ syllabus page on Canvas, Jim Oo (’21), was shocked to find out that he had to pay for grades this semester. After digesting the 27-page long grading rubrics for his Quantitative Reasoning course, he discovered in fine print the terms and conditions which demanded that an online version of the QR textbook had to be purchased for 35% of their total grade.

Bewildered at the bureaucratic ultimatum, Oo promptly announced his findings to his Class of 2021, leaving many stunned at the hefty $329 price tag for an online PDF. While many were up in arms against the finding, some recipients of generous financial subsidy have considered it an undeserved blessing in disguise, essentially getting 35% of their grade free.

Others, like Donovan Tay (’21), argued that it was a “pretty cheap cost for grades”, clarifying that “in his country, it would have cost way more”. He also added that the new policy ensures that grades do not get in the way of the ungraded semester, as paying for grades makes for “a great work-life balance”.

However, the majority of the student population was quick to point out that without the purchase of the textbook, they had to score 100% on all their tests for them to pass the course. “It’s ridiculous,” said Cendana freshman Jason Lim (‘21), “most of us want to scrape by with a C-, but now to get that C- I can’t make a single mistake in any of my IRATs.” Lim, who refuses to buy the online textbook, had already bought the physical copy of the text prior to the discovery and had already read it start to finish.

When the Mocktant reviewed the Quantitative Reasoning syllabus for ourselves, we also discovered that 25% of the student’s grade was tied to the purchase of a premium version of RStudio, which costs $18 for a weekly subscription.