Cost of attendance, or an estimate of a student’s budget, for a full-time (24+ credits) student living on campus at UAA is calculated at $25,098 by the University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance. $1,176 of that estimate is dedicated to student fees. UAA students pay a variety of different fees for athletics and recreation, the green fee, transportation, student media, student government and ePortfolio, among other things.
A student fee task force by USUAA broke down the cost of student fees and the way they have increased over the past few years. Sam Erickson is President of USUAA and also a member of the student fees task force.
“The student fee task force was assembled last spring…to look at a functional rearrangement of the way fees are assessed within UAA, ideally to create a more consistent and equitable structure,” Erickson said. “So right now, there’s kind of a hodgepodge of when fees begin to be assessed, like at which credit level and who they’re applied to.”
Erickson said the task force looked at the way student fees targeted or missed certain students.
“You have people who can take like six credits worth of yoga classes and they’re paying, you know, the recs fee or athletics fee but they’re not paying the student government fee or other types of fees because they’re assessed at different levels and that makes it difficult for the university to collect money functionally,” Erickson said. “So the idea was creating mostly a common floor, probably at like three or four credits.”
The student task force tracked how fees have been raised over the years as well as who those fees applied to.
“I think the most surprising finding was ultimately how significantly fee burdens can be changed just by taking courses either at different campuses or taking courses online, and a lot of people have been able to use distance courses to get out of paying specific fees or vice versa, people who take exclusively distance courses have been hammered with like distance delivery fees,” Erickson said.
Students pays $3 to the Green Fee board. In the past, that fee has been used to install hydration stations across campus. The UAA Green Fee about page states that this fee has been in action since 2013 to fund sustainability on campus. This fee has only been active for three years, but the fee has not increased in that time period.
“Since 2013, UAA’s Green Fee has funded students’ sustainable initiatives,” the UAA Green Fee page states. “Ranging from a recycling competition to a bike share, projects supported by the Green Fee Fund enrich the university community, advance sustainability, and develop students’ skills.”
The student transportation fee costs students $13 but is what provides public transportation from the People Mover, bicycle racks, campus shuttle services and trail and sidewalk maintenance. The UAA webpage states that this service is free but only after the payment of the transportation fee.
“Current students with three or more credits who have paid the transportation fee and UAA employees may ride any People Mover or Valley Mover bus for free with a valid WOLFcard,” the page states.
The USUAA task force found that this fee was increased for students enrolled in three or more credits from $10 in the fall of 2012 to $13 in the fall of 2013.
Students also pay $8 a semester to use ePortfolio. This ePortfolio fee was instituted in fall of 2015 according data from the USUAA task force. The UAA fee page states that this fee covers costs associated with software licensing, user training and student support programs.
Students pay $11 for student media and $12 for student government as well as fees for infrastructure and technology. Potentially one of the largest of these fees is the facilities fee. According to the USUAA task force,the facilities fee charges students $4 per credit hour for students enrolled in one to 15 credits, even if those credit hours are from online courses. As stated on UAA’s webpage this fee goes towards university equipment and facilities.
“The facility fee supports the capital reinvestment for university facilities and academic equipment,” the UAA fee page states. “Capital reinvestment funds construction that modernizes university classrooms, laboratories, residence halls and other buildings so that students have access to learning and living facilities that enhance the academic experience.”
A fee that can surpass the cost of the facilities fee is the network fee which is calculated by taking four percent of a student’s cost of tuition.
“The network charge covers rapidly rising costs, especially in the maintenance and enhancement of the university-wide infrastructure,” the UAA fee page states. “The network charge will be applied on a course-by-course basis to tuition, nonresident surcharges if applicable, and fees in lieu of tuition for credit and noncredit courses. Courses with applicable fees in lieu of tuition less than the lower division credit hour tuition rate will be exempt from the charge. The minimum network charge per course will be $3.”
The estimated cost of fees for students is listed at $1,176, but this cost can rise with course choice. Some examples of course fees are lab fee, materials fee, and the learner services fee. Students are charged course fees when the class has cost associated that are not covered by tuition. Overall USUAA found students tend to pay $500 to $800 on fees.
“If we are looking for a regular student taking 12 credits their fee burden should be between $500 and $800,” Erickson said of last year’s findings.
One good example of varying fees by credit hour is the student life fee. According to the USUAA taskforce, this fee in 2015 was $22.50 per credit for students enrolled in six or more credits with a maximum charge of $270.