Well they pretty mall the equipment bases covered. From the high-end to the low-end and lots in between. I would not pay the $200 extra unless you are extremely uncomfortable in the water (and if you are... well maybe you should consider a different sport.) You will get more out of watching others go thru the same things you are going thru. The only SSI school here is IMO a diploma mill but dont let my opinion of one school put you off of another. Different instructors have different agendas. If you are comfortable that they are more interested in teaching you to dive than in dipping into your wallet, go for it. One clue - if they want to sell you gear before you are certified, money is their objective not training. CH ----- Original Message ----- From: "David and Judith Andrews" <[log in to unmask]> To: <[log in to unmask]> Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2001 1:33 PM hi - i found a good school in iowa. its called the iowa stae skin diving school. the class cost $350 and an extra $200 for private lessons. heres the web site www.ISSDS.com it lists what type of equipment they service and sell. let me know what you guys think, tim.