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Fee increases could be beneficial

Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013

Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013 21:01

On Thursday, the Board of Trustees is set to vote on a new set of fee increases as well as the implementation of a brand new fee. But this time, students could reap more benefits than costs.

The student health fee, the capital improvement fee and orientation program fee could possibly increase come fall 2013, and the new education planning fee could take effect then as well.

Student health and wellness is an important concern for students and administration alike, so the increase of the student health fee could do more benefit than harm.

With a $0.59 increase per credit hour to the health fee, a part-time dietitian, more mental health professionals and a registered nurse practitioner psychiatrist could be added to the university staff. Rapid HIV testing, with results in 20 minutes, would also be available with these funds. The UCF Health Center has had more than 1,400 visits since the spring semester began. With the increases of the fee the center would be better equipped to handle such a large demand.

The student health fee increase doesn’t benefit only a select number of the student body. Everyone reaps the benefits of a healthier campus environment so increasing the fee doesn’t seem that questionable.

UCF is often referred to as “U Can’t Finish,” and in part that nickname does have some weight to it. Of all the students admitted in the 2007-2008 academic year only 35 percent graduated within four years, and of the students admitted during the 2005-2006 academic year only 62.8 percent graduated after six years. That’s a startling statistic.

That’s not a very positive reflection on our academic system. However, the education planning fee seeks to change these graduation statistics by enhancing the current advising programs to help more students keep track of their graduation. As more students graduate on time UCF’s reputation increases. In the future, if the education planning fee makes stark improvements, mentioning a degree from UCF could potentially get you further in the job market. And, unlike the other fees, the educational planning fee is a flat $10 per semester rather than being charged per credit hour.

The other major fee increase, the capital improvement fee, could produce other, more infrastructural benefits for the university, including much-needed improvements to the John C. Hitt Library. This fee increase, like the student health fee increase, could benefit students more than it could hurt.

An extra $40 per semester is hardly unreasonable when you think of all the benefits these combined fee increases could have in the long term. An improved library and better students services is enough to give any alumni bragging rights. Although no one truly enjoys a fee increase, and as education is already a rather costly investment, we have to be really aware of where our money is going. It’s not going to any arbitrary branch of the administration. The money is going toward the benefit of facilities and student life on campus.

An important point to take note of is an agreement made by the State University System presidents. If the system receives a fund of about $118 million, the presidents have all agreed not to increase tuition next year. Hopefully things end in our favor and the increases are the ones only mentioned above. At least, however, the increases contribute to a more positive experience for not only students but everyone on campus.

If this is a cause or an event that you are truly passionate about, attend the Board of Trustees meetings and get your voice heard. Representation of student ideals is important in administrative work and get the best outcome for us. We need to speak up as a student body.

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