Necessary evil hits student wallets

Junette Reyes/Staff Writer

Additional student fees, such as the Athletic fee, Health fee, and Parking fee, can all be considered undue burdens University students need to deal with, aside from the already skyrocketing tuition prices students need to pay for with every semester enrollment. As an initial, first-glance judgment of these additional student fees, it can be argued that they should be optional, given that students might not all be capable of taking advantage of the offered services these fees fund. However, with a second-glance, it can be noted that the University’s ability to properly function would be jeopardized if these fees would be made optional.

Without much knowledge of how far these fees go in keeping the University operational, one can easily confuse these fees as unnecessary as well as a money-grubbing way to get our students to spend more. Not only that, but one would also fail to realize the many benefits that emerge from the funding that comes from these fees.

A basic understanding of these student fees could lead one to think that the only good that comes from them is a parking decal and access to the gym; this, of course, is untrue.

Student fees contribute to the overall daily experience of being a student at the University, while tuition simply covers the academic portion of your time spent at FIU.

The Parking and Transportation Access Fee alone helps fund parking facilities and emergency telephone call centers as well as lighting, road and sidewalk improvements; they also fund the Golden Panther Express shuttle, which travels between Biscayne Bay Campus and Modesto Maidique Campus, as well as the CATS Service shuttle, which travels from the Modesto Maidique Campus to the College of Engineering and Computing.

The Student Health Fee aids in the funding of departments that provide students with affordable clinical and mental-health services at on-campus locations; the Counseling and Psychological Services Center, the Victim Advocacy Center and the Disability Resource Center are all also funded by this fee.

The Athletic Fee also helps by providing students with free of charge access to all University athletic events; the athletic fee is also the only source of revenue for the University’s Athletic Department which can further help improve the athletic department, and in turn increase the department’s chances of gaining sponsorships.

Furthermore, these student fees also further the expansion and renovation of the University as well as being a source of funding for all student organizations and activities.

During the 2011-2012 Academic Year, for a student enrolled in a combined 30 credit hours for the fall and spring semesters, the athletics, health, and parking fee were at $20, $166.38, and $164.84, respectively. Although individually these fees don’t amount to much for a full year period, when you add them to tuition for a 30 credit year, it adds up to $5,678.02.

Unfortunately, removing these fees altogether is not an option we can risk right now nor can we decrease them, given that the state is continuously making cuts to education funding. Making them optional is not the route to go either, considering that some students might not even pay if they had the choice. It’s simply a matter of finding ways to make money now so that eventually our student fees can be on par with the more traditional universities in the state.

Tuition is already increasing to make up for state budget cuts towards education funding, and so are student fees. On the University’s part, an effective budget is the way to go as well as avoiding any unnecessarily high salaries, especially on the administrative side. Students, on the other hand, should try enrolling full time and a bit beyond, especially during semesters that provide aid so as not to indebt themselves further. This might not be an automatic solution to our problems but it certainly is a start, which is exactly what the University needs in order to eventually make cuts to said fees. 

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