From the President: Decision on Proposed Campus Fee Adjustments
To: All students
From: President Gayle Hutchinson
I’d like to thank you once again for your dedicated engagement and courageous contributions to the proposal to increase three mandatory student fees. To help guide me in making this decision and ensure student voices were heard on the proposal, we held seven forums, received hundreds of written comments, and held an advisory student referendum.
For the last few days, I have reflected deeply on the sentiments students shared about how the fees would both benefit them and pose significant financial challenges. I searched for alternatives and viable options, and found none. I thoroughly examined the financial needs of the programs that are served by these fees, and I have considered the impact on students now and in the future if these programs receive no additional funding. These increases would sustain the three programs for the next five years to enhance our abilities to meet the educational, physical, and mental health needs of our students—services that are vital as we strive for student success and prepare students for their future. And yet, I am compassionate to the financial burden any increases impose upon our students, many of whom are already struggling with current costs.
Today, I received a recommendation from the Campus Fee Advisory Committee (CFAC), a student-majority committee established in accordance with Executive Order 1102 for the purpose of providing advice to the president on any proposals to modify current fees. An excerpt of CFAC’s recommendation follows:
“The committee is largely supportive of these fee adjustments. We believe they are important to the provision of vital services and help maintain the excellent reputation of our institution. At the same time, we also recognize that even a small increase in the cost of attendance can be untenably burdensome for our student population.”
Although the advisory referendum showed that the majority of students who voted did not support raising fees, comments submitted during the forums and online were more evenly split. And, ultimately, the need for increased funding in these three areas is paramount. After significant deliberation of the results and consultation with campus, I have decided to phase in the increases to the three student fees over three semesters, starting in fall 2018. This approach will reduce the immediate impact on students.
|Phased Increases in Student Fees*|
|FEE||START DATE||INCREASE AMOUNT|
|Student Health Services Fee||Fall 2018||$99|
|Student Learning Fee||Spring 2019||$40|
|Athletics Fee||Fall 2019||$51|
*For semester fees through spring 2026, see Schedule of Fees table on the fee adjustment website.
It is my hope that the decision to stagger the fee increases will provide students with more time to plan and prepare. The financial aid set-asides included in the fee increases will reduce the impact on those who receive aid. If you are concerned with how you will personally afford these increases, our Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, the Counseling and Wellness Center, and the Basic Needs Project are here to support you. I thank every one of you who participated in this process. While the decision may have not gone as you had wished, please know your voice has been heard. The final determination is truly one I make with students’ best interests in mind.
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