Ian Lares-Chacín / Contributing Writer
If you want to show off your Panther Pride by snagging some FIU merch, I have bad news for you: it’s mostly overpriced with generic designs.
Despite being publicly funded by the state of Florida, the university still decides to price a large part of its merchandise exorbitantly high.
These high prices may be excluding low-income students who can’t afford to buy FIU merch. This would especially affect our out-of-state and international students.
They already pay three times the amount of tuition in-state students to pay, plus the additional fee international students pay to the university.
Compared to other universities in Florida, FIU merch tends to be between $10-$20 more expensive depending on the item. Even private institutions, like the University of Miami (UM), tend to have more affordable merchandise than we do on both their campus and online store.
A standard sweatshirt with FIU’s logo made by Fanatics, which itself has a low rating of 2.53 out of 5 stars on Sitejabber, cost students about $46 with tax, while a similar sweatshirt sold by UM runs for about $36.
It shouldn’t cost FIU students nearly $50 just to buy a simple sweatshirt with the university’s logo, especially when a private university, like UM, is selling a similar product at a cheaper price.
Even our polos are ridiculously overpriced! While students at UM can buy from a variety of striking polo designs for anywhere between $35-$45, the polos FIU offers come mostly in some shade of blue with our logo for between $55-$74. It is unbelievable that our apparel is so expensive.
One big factor contributing to the high prices is the severe lack of third-party providers stocking FIU branded products. It’s the basic law of supply and demand. If there is a limited supply of a good, but a high demand for it, the value of that good will naturally be higher.
Students from other universities, such as the University of Miami, the University of Florida, and Florida State University, get to easily buy their school’s merchandise from a multitude of providers all over the state. From your nearest convenience store to the local Dick’s Sporting Goods, you are bound to find some products with one of these university’s logos on them.
Meanwhile, Panthers are stuck either buying expensive products from the FIU Barnes and Noble or buying cheap, low-quality merchandise from stores nearby.
There’s also a lack of unique and eye-catching designs.
The majority of shirts and jackets in FIU’s store generally follow the same pattern of designs. The university will slap either the primary university logo, the panther logo, or some variation of “Florida International University” on an article of clothing and call it a day.
What is absurd about this is that at the same time, clubs and other student organizations at FIU, like the Student Programming Council and FIU Homecoming, can commission nicer designs they give out to students for free.
FIU needs to do a better job of bringing our Panthers actual affordable merchandise while increasing the variety of unique designs and ensuring those designs are high quality. Having merch that students can be proud to wear and won’t hurt their wallets is not only easily achievable, but it will help improve school pride overall.
The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.