24 Apr 2012

Student Fees Additional to Tuition Cost

Author: Kelsey Rentner | Filed under: Enterprise Story, Spring 2012

BGSU allocated a grand total of $23,881,981of general fees for the 2011-2012 school year. Photo from BGSU Proposed FY 2012 General Fee & Related Auxiliary Budgets.

By Kelsey Rentner

BGSU student fee money is increasing and being allocated to areas and facilities among campus. Students are unaware about these distributions of their money.

There are two types of fees that need to be paid by students: a general fee and an instructional fee, which is a payment that goes toward instructors, according to scholarship and grants coordinator of the Bursar Department Judy Foos. For general fees, students pay $59 for every credit hour for each semester. Full time students pay $707 per semester in general fee money, according to Foos. General fee money goes toward facilities and organizations that are non-academic.

According to the BGSU proposed budget, general fee money has increased by $2 per credit hour since 2011 and will only continue to increase every year. The budget shows that fee money began in 1969 “as a comprehensive activity fee for student health and special services.” Then, the money was split into a general fee, which covered student services and programs and a facility fee, which covered debt services and facility charges. The two fees recombined in 1977.

Vice President of Finance and Administration Sherri Stoll said the price has risen because “as one facility [building or non-academic organization] price goes up, the fee money must go up to fund it.”

Students do not seem to know where their money goes when they pay their tuition and fee money on top of that. When asked, students responded with a puzzled look and an unsure answer.

“I honestly have no idea where my general fee money goes. I wish BGSU made it easier to view exactly where my dollars go so that I know it is not going toward something that is useless,” said sophomore Angelika Wagner, 19, of Perrysburg, Ohio.

Budget information is a public record and can be viewed on the BGSU website.

According to the Proposed Fiscal Year 2012 General Fee and Related Auxiliary Budget, general fee money is mostly allocated toward athletics, followed by debt services and recreational sports. Other areas that fee money is distributed are Student Health Services, Bowen-Thompson

Most of BGSU's general fee allocations go toward athletics, followed by debt services and recreational sports. Photo from BGSU Proposed FY 2012 General Fee & Related Auxiliary Budgets.

Student Union programs, Campus Activities, Ice Arena programs, the BGSU football stadium and golf course, the Student Budget Committee and the shuttle service.

A comparison of student fees with peer institutions shows that BGSU allocates 49.5 percent of general fee money to athletics, while Ohio University distributes 81 percent and the University of Akron distributes 78 percent toward Athletics, according to Kent University student Jenna Homrock, author of “Academic students fund MAC Universities’ Athletic Departments.”

“BGSU has the smallest budget of collected student fees compared to whom we compete against,” said Director of Athletics Greg Christopher.

Stoll explained how athletics are funded at the university. Each athletic division must have a certain number of sports played at each college. BGSU is a Division I school, which means that there is a higher amount of money that needs to fund each sport in order to stay a Division I school.

Alternatives to paying fee money are difficult to enforce. Stoll said private donors could help reduce the cost of fees for students, along with paid advertisements of businesses and restaurants. Another option is to not have non-academic facilities and organizations, allowing students to not pay any general fees, Stoll said.

Some students said that they would rather pay the cost of general fees instead of not having non-academic organizations.

“I would rather have to pay the general fees than not have non-academic organizations because without these activities, we would only have schoolwork to attend to, and that can become pretty boring after a while,” said junior Ollie Goss, 20, of Rossford, Ohio.

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