University Waives Some Fees From Summer Tuition

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

By: Laura Antunez / Staff Writer

Florida International University will be cutting some fees for summer 2020 tuition but will keep others as is.

“When it comes to paying all these fees, I’m a little on the fence,” said Karina Taylee, a non-degree seeking student aspiring to be a nutritionist, and on-campus employment for the Healthy Living Program. “I would like to have more fees waived but I understand why more fees aren’t.”

On May 6, the Office of the University Registrar sent out an email with a link to a FAQ, where students can access information on how they will be charged for the upcoming summer semester.

The FAQ states that the Transportation Access fee will be reduced 50 dollars, dropping the price from nearly 90 dollars to just under 40. The Transportation Access fee, among other things, helps pay for the garages’ maintenance and repairs.

It also states that fees associated with supplies or equipment usage will also be waived, however, these are the only things that are being altered. The rest of tuition will be charged as normal, this includes upholding the $90 Distance Learning fee.

“Since all courses are required to be online for the summer term, the $90 Distance Learning Fee should be waived for every online class,” said a petition created by Valerie Caso-Veras. 

Last week, two petitions emerged demanding that FIU waive summer 2020 fees since students are being charged for amenities that they cannot access, said one petition by Natalia Arencibia. One petition had 998 signatures and the other had 1,310. 

Both petitions mentioned wanting the Athletic, Distance Learning and Transportation access fee waived for the summer. 

The FAQ defended the Distance Learning fee, saying it will be charged as normal for classes that are specifically for online, not classes that are being taught remotely due to the pandemic.

“Faculty designing the courses leverage dedicated online instructional designers and educational technologies reserved for fully online courses,” it said. “The Distance Learning fee funds the infrastructure and team that helps deliver these courses.”

The Student Health fee is also being charged as normal since many services are still being offered remotely and the on-campus pharmacy is remaining open. The Student Health Clinic, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Victim Empowerment Program are all still being offered by the university. 

“I work on campus and I know that my department is working hard to make sure that the student body is getting all the services that they normally would,” said Taylee.

According to Taylee, the Healthy Living Program is still providing education online, workshops, a dietician, and classes for stress management.

Due to fixed costs that are applied whether students are on campus or not, the Athletics and Activity fee will also be charged as normal.

The Athletic fee ensures that the fields and courts are maintained and ready for when students are invited back on campus. The Activity fee also helps sustain remote programming in relation to greek life and other organizations. Programming such as Life Skills Series, virtual fitness classes and club fairs are all being funded by this fee.

“I’m not sure what kind of maintenance it would require if no one is there and to a student that sounds unfair but there’s a lot more behind the scenes that I don’t know,” said Taylee. “I would love for FIU to be more transparent with what they’re doing with those fees.”

The FAQ goes on to say that despite university costs being lower since the campuses are almost completely empty, a lot of the revenue associated with a populated university has been lost as well. Funds from food sales and facility rentals are essentially non-existent, and the university predicts that the economic shortfall will be greater than the 19 million dollars FIU is expected to receive from the CARES Act.   

You can use the things that they’re offering,” she said. “It’s not a perfect solution but people are working really hard to ensure that students are still getting [services] that they were getting and I just hope people use them.”

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