Student fees take a hike

Student fees are anticipated to increase by $24 per semester next year and most of that is for buildings, newspapers and athletics.

According to Paul Brinkman, vice-president of budget and planning, fees go up a little every year according to the consumer price index.

The index is based on changes in prices paid by consumers for basic needs. That means the fees go up the same as every other expense, he said.

Of the four exceptions this year-local and national newspapers on campus, wind power development, buildings and athletics-the first two were initiated by students and the second two are overdue for being increased, Brinkman said.

Wind power development will only cost $1, but the Collegiate Readership Program is $5 per semester.

These were approved by the student-elected ASUU Senate and Assembly.

The building fee does not go up yearly and hasn’t been significantly increased for 15 years, Brinkman said.

That fee pays for building repairs and renovations, student housing and upkeep of the aging Union.

More money for buildings also improves the U’s credit rating. When the state fails to give the U sufficient funding, the U sells bonds to get more money.

With a better credit rating, the U can pay lower interest on those bonds, which saves the university money, Brinkman said.

The financial strength of the bond system will become very important in the future if the proposed student recreational center is built, he said.

The athletic fee will be increased by $5 per semester for a total of $50 per semester.

From that money, $1 will be given to the marching band.

The band relies on funding from the athletic department for instruments, music, uniforms and staff.

If it’s not funded enough, the School of Music has to make up the difference even though the band contributes to athletics, not academics, said Bob Walzel, director for the School of Music.

As a result, the band is in a deficit, he said.

After doing a survey of other bands in the Mountain West Conference, Walzel found that the U’s band budget was five or six times less than other bands, he said.

For these reasons Chris Hill, athletics director, requested the $1 increase.

Hill was not available for comment, nor was anyone else in the department involved with budget.

Last year student fees increased significantly because a fuel and power fee was added so students shared the burden on those costs.

Although fuel and power costs for the U may go down in the future, other items may cause fees to rise again in the future.

Besides the proposed recreation center, the cost of transportation is on the rise and that fee may go up soon, Brinkman said.

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