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UCF Board of Trustees approves increases to student fees

By Rebecca Males
On January 31, 2013

In an 8-to-4 vote on Thursday, the UCF Board of Trustees voted to add a new fee in addition to increasing certain current fees, effective fall 2013.

The Board voted to implement a new $10-per-semester education planning fee, meant to help identify students in need of academic counseling and ensure they graduate within four years.

Student Government Association President Cortez Whatley was one of the four board members to vote against the new fee.

The main arguments against the fee were that it is not economically prudent at the current time and that the university shouldnt being asking students to pay for this service.

I do whole heartedly agree with the concept that the fee and service would provide to students, but I agree, I dont think its the right economic time, Whatley said. Students just cant afford it.

A suggestion was made to reduce the fee to $5 per semester but the motion did not pass.

Jasmine Salas, vice president of the Student Labor Action Party who attended the meeting, felt like the reason behind the new fee is really a part of a larger problem.

Why arent we looking at what were spending our money on instead of just being like oh we need this and passing it on to the students, she said.

The increases to student fees that were approved include the capital improvement fee and the orientation program fee.

Students will see a $2 increase, from $6.76 to $8.76 per credit hour, to the capital improvement fee.

The revenues produced from this fee benefit the continuation of renovations being made to the John C. Hitt Library, as well as support future student services building projects.

Students attending college for the first time and transfer students will now pay $50 to participate in the orientation program, a $15 increase. The extra funds generated from this increase will go toward a raise in salary for the Orientation Team members.

President John C. Hitt said he feels good about being able to compensate the team leaders better. They havent seen an increase in pay since 2003, while participation in the program has increased by 5,439 students since then.

The proposed 59 cent increase to the student health fee that would enable UCF Health Services to employ an advanced registered nurse practitioner psychiatrist, a part-time dietitian, four additional mental health specialists and supply rapid HIV testing was not approved by the Board.

Whatley suggested a 39 cent increase to the health fee instead of the 59 cent increase the committee originally submitted. He said this would fund two of the four mental health specialists and the rapid HIV testing, but not the part-time dietitian.

Whatley said he suggested this amendment to the fee based on student feedback.

The proposed increase to the health fee will go back to the finance and facilities committee for further review before being voted on again at the next BOT meeting in March.

The other fees that were approved on Thursday by the BOT will now go to a vote before the Board of Governors before being finalized.

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