University of Utah Reduces Student Fees by $150, What U Need to Know

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By Megan McKellar, News Writer

 

On Aug. 18, the University of Utah announced that it would be reducing student fees by $150 for the fall semester. Students typically pay an average of $624 in addition to regular tuition.  

Mark Winter, the associate vice president of budget, said several people had reached out and asked why fees were still being charged for the fall semester if many services associated with the fees would be unavailable.  

“We tried to make sure that the services really will be available to students … but we also recognize that that’s a valid concern. And so, the $150, rather than being specific for any certain fee, is just meant to help reduce the cost as much as we can right now,” Winter said. 

Winter recognizes the fee amount may not be as much as students had hoped for, but hopes the fee reduction helps students realize the administration is aware of the challenges students are facing and are trying to do everything they can to help. 

“[Student] fees support services that are ongoing and they support the cost of buildings, materials and library materials — and it’s not something that we could just turn off quickly, so we are responding with what we [can] do,” Winter said. 

Amy Navarro, a pre-medical lab science major, said the process of changing classes and housing procedures due to COVID-19, as well as the way these changes have been communicated, has given her great difficulty. She is moving to campus without knowing if she can afford full tuition, housing costs and books. 

“I was hoping that the U would understand the current dangers of the pandemic and economic issues caused because of it. However, they continue to show that they only care about profit and not the safety and mental/physical well-being of the students. I am truly disappointed and feel that they should greatly reduce tuition, not just cut $150 from our fees, which isn’t even the cost of one textbook,” Navarro said. 

Conner Johnson, a fourth year student studying film and media arts, said he is confused how the university thinks the $150 will help students at all. 

“This isn’t even the cost of a parking pass for a semester on campus, let alone a significant part of the tuition that we are paying for an education,” Johnson said.  

Johnson also takes issue with the fact the university is charging full tuition for classes which have moved online in response to COVID-19.  

“I think that this was a method to help distract students from the fact that we are overpaying during a national pandemic with the highest unemployment rates our country has ever seen,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said in addition to charging less for online classes, the university should also be creating relief programs for students who are unemployed or financially struggling during this time. 

“It baffles me that tuition prices have not been drastically reduced and changes haven’t been made to the spending of non-necessary part of our now majority digital education,” Johnson said.  

A full breakdown of student fees can be found at the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis’s website.

 

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@meganbmckellar