Working part-time jobs, paying for classes and having little money to spare for food and gas, female students don’t have extra money lying around to pay for birth control pills every month.

The Cal Poly Pomona health center prices the birth control pill ataround $9 every month and is the cheapest type of hormonal birth control the health center has to offer. Although, around $9 a month may not seem like much, it can be very difficult to set aside around an extra $108 a year. CPP should offer hormonal birth control pills free to all female students who request it at the health center.

CPP should offer hormonal birth control pills free to all female students who request it at the health center. (Christina Manuel | The Poly Post)

According to the National College Health Assessment, only 52.9 percent of female students at the health center reported taking birth control in 2016.

First-year psychology student Isabella Raman went to visit the health center to get birth control at CPP but was turned off from the idea when she saw the monthly prices.

Raman states she didn’t end up using the health center as the place to get her birth control because she’s been referred to other places she knows she can get different types of birth control methods for free or little to nothing.

According to the National College Health Assessment, from spring of 2016, only 36.6 percent of students said they use some type of contraceptives during sex and the leading contraceptive with 60.3 percent use are male condoms.

The CPP health center gives out condoms to students for free but not the birth control pill.

Although condoms are a great way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, condoms, according to Planned Parenthood, are only 85 percent effective in preventing pregnancies versus the birth control pill, which is 91 percent effective.

Condoms can range in price from a pack of three starting at around $3 to $6, and single condoms are usually just under a dollar. However, according to U.S. and World Report, couples who use condoms twice a week spend around $150 on them on average per year.

Health Educator Carla Jackson from the Student Health & Counseling Services Wellness Center said the CPP health center charges students for the hormonal pill the same price the university is charged for by the pharmaceutical companies that sell them, meaning CPP makes no money off of selling the birth control pill to students.

“I personally think birth control should be free, but we can’t do that here,” Jackson said. “Sometimes it’s a barrier. We send them with condoms to Planned Parenthood.”

It’s obvious buying condoms is much cheaper than purchasing the birth control pill.

Although, the health center still pays to buy condoms in bulk to give out free to all CPP students with no payment in return.

With flyers posted throughout both the health and wellness centers offering free condoms, the number of condoms a single student can take per week increased from six to 10.

If the health center already has a financial plan to purchase enough condoms and give out multiple to students for free, they should be able to come up with different options on how to offer the birth control pill for free.

One option is the price of birth control pills should be already included in a student’s tuition under the mandatory health services fee already charged to our accounts.

If CPP charges all enrolled students the birth control pill fee as a part of the already charged health services, the university can price the fee strategically to charge just enough to purchase the birth control pills from the pharmaceuticals companies that sell them. This would allow all female students who request the hormonal pill on campus access to it hassle free with no out-of-pocket monthly payments.

On the Planned Parenthood website, it is confirmed that many college students who can’t afford the birth control pill from their school’s health center end up going to Planned Parenthood to use the family plan payment option.

The family plan payment option can qualify students for adjusted prices and payment plans for the birth control pill based on their household income.

Offering different payment plans for students who can’t pay for the birth control pill is something the CPP health center should consider doing as well.

With assignments, deadline, part-time jobs and so much more for students to worry about, trying to find different ways to come up with extra cash for birth control pills should be the least of worries for students at CPP.

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