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Tuition, fee bill increases explained

Students see tuition and fees go up to make up for state cuts and the beginning of the UREC fee increase

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Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013 8:13 pm

Students may wish they spent a little less money at bars this summer, as they are once again welcomed back to campus with an increase in tuition and student fees.

The 2013-14 fiscal year brought a $45 increase in required fees, the addition of a $48 Building Use Fee, 10 percent increase in resident tuition and a 15 percent increase in nonresident tuition.

Thomas M. Smith, acting executive director of the Office of Budget and Planning, said student recommended fees, student health fees and other allocated fees make up the total required fees.

Smith said increased nonresident tuition is a result of the GRAD Act passed in June 2010 and taking effect in 2011, which requires the University to charge comparable average rates for nonresidents as their Southern Regional Education Board peers.

“That’s a big jump, but it’s a mandate from the legislature,” Smith said. “It’s a public policy decision made by the state legislature and the governor.”

As the state sees more cuts to higher education, the University will continue to increase tuition to make up for the lost dollars, Smith said.

He said in-state tuition increases sometimes go unnoticed because most of those students have TOPS.

Required fees come in two kinds: Student recommended fees, such as Student Sports Recreation and Late Night Programming fees, both of which are voted on by the student body, and “Other Allocated” fees, which are approved by committees of administrators and students, Smith said.

Last year, students voted for the $45 hike in required fees to expand the University Student Recreational Complex. The fee will be implemented for three years with phased increases of $45 starting this semester.

This year a new change has been added to student’s fee bills — the Building Use Fee. A result of House Bill 671, this fee will be used to acquire, operate, construct, maintain, repair and improve University facilities, according to Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget and Planning and Interim CFO Robert Kuhn.

While these projects were previously funded by tuition, the University accumulated “deferred maintenance,” which means maintenance projects were held off and money was spent elsewhere, Kuhn said. As a result, there was a push in the most recent legislative session to create a fee the University can soley use for maintenance.

The Building Use Fee is similar to the Student Technology Fee. It is a restricted account that must be approved by a committee, Kuhn said.

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