Student fees on the rise

Leighann Seaman
Leighann Seaman

Students may feel the pain of paying higher tuition prices in years to come, but tuition may not be all that will rise. For organizations on campus, student fees comprise a large portion of the budget. As operating costs increase, so must income.

Student Activities, an organization on campus responsible for concerts, events and entertainment for students, along with Student Health and Counseling, asked for increased funding from USUAA Student Government.

This year student fees totaled $295 dollars for a student taking 12 credits. $192 of this went to student life, which includes Student Activities and Student Health and Counseling.

Student Activities asked USUAA for a $1 per credit increase, 50 cents per credit increase or no increase at all. For each option they provided probable results, the “no increase option” resulting in halted improvement in entertainment on campus.  The rationale behind their request was an increase in the costs of booking performers and reserving venues. The fee for Student Activities this year was $2 per credit, with a 12-credit cap. The $1 increase would provide the organization with $180,000 of additional income.

Student Health and Counseling asked for a slightly larger increase. The proposed fee increase would increase the per credit fee from $6 to $8 in 2011.

“Our fee increases are based on objective evidence,” Bette Fenn, Director of the Student Health Center, said.

New technology, larger student population and expanded services at the Student Health Center cost more than the 2009-operating budget, which is $1,400,000.

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The Student Health Center provides both physical and mental health care. In the past three years the center averages 33 visits per day.

The fee increase proposals, presented to Student Government, occur routinely at UAA. The Dean of Students asked Fenn to present her proposal to USUAA, and “after research,” Fenn said, “there really was a need for a bigger budget.”

For a student taking 12 credits, the proposed increases will bump current student fees from $295 to as much as $331 in 2011.