Well don't get me wrong I'm not saying it's a good thing, but I do think that what I said is true.
I mean it would deserve it's own thread and I don't want to use this one to talk a lot about this, but considering the amount of competition there is for audio even for the shittiest mod ever you could find, when you're a student you already have to be crazy good to ask for money else that's just like killing your career in the egg.
No one will ever take you because they can take people for free, and no company will ever hire you because you don't have anything to show. That's just the death loop. So most people including me do it for free. And I can't even complain because I feel I'm a little bit lucky since I do have some people coming to me for sounds instead of only me trying to get a project.
I mean, hell, even some pros who already work try to get projects and they do it for free too. I actually had one who worked with me in one of my project who failed. So you're a student, you just want to make a little game for experience and you have pros trying to take the same jobs for free "because it's my passion and it's fun". True story, the guy worked on AAA titles. At the end of the day it was nice I learned stuff but it's still a little bit annoying in my opinion.
Ask yourself why? How did we get here in the first place? The entertainment industry is the ONLY industry I know of that offers so many unpaid internships. My wife's industry pays their interns more than I've made at salaried jobs.
If audio folks don't make your craft worth something - then it's always going to be like this. You cannot make a living off of exposure. Not really. There has to be some sort of sustainable business model behind that exposure. Billy Corgin makes this point in this video interview (some rough language but hey... it's Billy Corgin): http://blip.tv/revolution/billy-corgan-why-musicians-need-more-than-viral-videos-to-succeed-6257082 And frankly, very few projects reach the level of exposure where an audio guy could do something with it.
Plus when there's a tangible exhance of goods/services it keeps the relationship professional. I cannot tell you how many times I've lost out on a gig because the client wanted to get the "free guy" only to have that same client come back 4 months later and beg me to work on his project for a fee. Why? Because so often free work is unreliable. Folks vanish. They refuse to do revisions. Etc. I've seen it time and time again.
This is why I try to mentor young(er) audio folks to always charge something for their work. Even a tiny amount keeps that transaction professional. You want to make a business out of game audio? You want to be considered a professional? Then you should act like one. If you don't want a career in game audio, then it's really up to you. But understand that what you do and how you do it DOES impact other audio guys. Guys (and gals!) who may be seeking a career/living in game audio.
And I'd like to point out this specific statement: No one will ever take you because they can take people for free, and no company will ever hire you because you don't have anything to show. That's just the death loop.
Then how did anyone, anywhere, ever get to the point of charging for work? Let alone some really established people who, eventually, could charge thousands of dollars for their work? If they had taken the approach you're talking about... then the answer is they probably wouldn't have ever made it to that point. The very first project I landed, I charged for my services. Sure, I've worked for free on a few projects for example one was a hobby project and another one was an activist project against overfishing where nobody was getting paid. I've also helped out a few friends here and there but that's because they were friends. Trust me - I've seen some devs go from free guy to free guy. Almost always they talk about "I'll pay you the next time!" or "the exposure will be huge!" I fell for this a few times early on but then I discovered that once I put a fee to my work, even a very tiny one, they dropped me so fast and went to the next free guy.
I mean, hell, even some pros who already work try to get projects and they do it for free too.
Who are these pros? Because every single one I know charges for most of the projects they take on. Same with me. They may do some free ones - like the types I listed above (friends, hobbyist, activist, etc). You cannot make a living working for free. Period.
So... tying this back into the OP's topic: you can find audio work from all kinds of places! Some expensive and some cheap. Some of it is great and some isn't so great. I'd consider hiring a young(er) audio guy that's willing to work for something you can afford. Or if that's not possible, go with a library track which you can license - often for very cheap.