2/6/08

Paying for College & Also Paying for Barrons, etc? You're Probably Paying Twice

Most colleges subscribe to various databases. If you're paying for college (grad school, etc), whether for yourself or someone else, fees for these databases are included in your tuition.

Two databases in particular, Lexis Nexis and Proquest, give you access to many financial/investing publications. These include, but are by no means limited to, Barron's, Business Week, The Economist, Forbes, Kiplinger's, Money, and The Wall Street Journal.

If you subscribe to any of these separately, and you're paying for college, you're paying twice. If you're paying for college and don't read any of these, maybe you should, since you're paying for them anyway.

It's true that the database versions don't have pictures and if you want to read them without a computer you have to print them out. The databases also, with some exceptions, don't provide you with the various online features of the publications. Nevertheless, it's certainly worth it if you save $100 a year (a Barron's subscription, for example) or more, don't you think?

It's easy to find out what you're already paying for. Just visit your (or your kid's, spouse's, etc) college library website and poke around. You might discover a lot of useful publications that you're already paying for. Most libraries now have proxy servers, so you don't even have to leave your home. If you're not the student, you might need a little help (to connect you probably need a student id, or password).

Some college libraries have access to an even broader array of financial publications. For example, through mine I can use Morningstar, Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage, and ValueLine, among many others. I wouldn't pay for these separately (I can't afford it), but since they're already included in my tuition, it feels like I'm wasting money if I don't use them.

So go explore. You might find that you can save money by canceling your subscriptions or discover that you have access to something you've wanted to use but didn't want to spend money on.

Many public libraries have some or all of these resources available for their patrons, and many now have online database access from home. For example, the New York City Public Library has access to all of the resources listed above.

Pay a visit your local public library. You'll be amazed at what resources are available (and you're already paying for through taxes).