Fee increases a necessary evil
Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 14:03
One of the worst things about being in college is being broke. Living off of Ramen noodles and junk food is sometimes a necessity when it comes time to pay tuition, housing and various other expenses.
Word came out Monday that UCF is planning to increase athletic, health and transportation access fees, all of this on top of the rising price of tuition.
For the 2010-2011 school year, the current athletic fee is $12.98, the transportation access fee is $8.19 and the health fee is $9.52 per credit hour.
As much as we hate shelling out more dough for our already expensive college education, we understand that these fees are a necessary evil.
So far, the increases have only been approved by the UCF Board of Trustees, meaning they still have to get the final stamp of approval from the Florida Board of Governors, which is expected to happen in May or June.
For those of you living on campus, you may have to pay an extra $30 to $95 each semester, depending on which housing community you live in. The cost of an annual parking decal may also go up $6 to $94 for students and $21 for teachers — let's just hope buyers are able to find a space.
These fee increases will amount to an extra $40 per year for a student who completes 30 credit hours, or $960 total.
Fee increases obviously don't make us happy but we also have to consider that UCF has a really beautiful campus and maintaining that requires time, workers, and of course, cash.
Some of the changes we can expect to see if these fees are approved include roof and air-conditioning replacements and added security cameras in student housing complexes and a new mental-health therapist.
These improvements are meant to benefit students, so it really isn't fair for us to complain too much. We may not enjoy paying a student health fee, for example, but it really is nice to be able to see a doctor conveniently located on campus and rarely have to pay a dime. It's also economically and aesthetically a large draw for prospective students.
Although we can justify the increase of fees, we'd also like the university to keep it to a minimum. An extra $40 dollars a year may not seem like a lot this time, but if the university keeps on this path, these extra fees could really add up for students.
Right now, UCF is one of the cheaper schools in Florida and we'd really like for it to stay that way. To keep situations like this from occurring, the Obama administration has designed a strategy to offer competitive grants to states with high college graduation rates.
As part of this plan and the 2012 budget, there's "First in the World," which provides incentive for universities to keep tuition rates from rising and get students to graduate faster.
When the university is forced to increase fees, we would like the process to be more transparent. Even now, we're not entirely sure where all the money is going for these fee increases aside from the few reasons listed above.
We would like the university to be more specific about how our money is being spent rather than just listing a few new improvements.
It's never pleasant to have to take out even more student-loan money or cut back on groceries for a few weeks, but unfortunately it's a fact of life for most college students.
Somewhat reluctantly, we'll pay these fee increases if they're approved by the Florida Board of Governors but in return we expect to see visible improvements made to campus.