University would receive an additional $6.5 million through fee increases in fall

I would first of all like to commend President James Gaertner on a successful year in his new position. I would also like to comment on his ability to deal with student relations over the year. He has been a visible face on campus and is genuinely very concerned about students and will listen to their concerns. Tuesday, I had the honor to attend the Student Government Association meeting, where I listened to his presentation on fee increases. Like many of my fellow students, I was shocked to learn that a fee increase of $251 per semester will be implemented for next fall.This increase is not centralized to one specific fee but is instead increasing two existing fees and introducing two new fees to students. The first is an increase of tuition by $8 per semester credit hour. The increase would make the cost of a 15 hour load $1,155 instead of $1,035, and increase of $120 per semester and $240 for an academic year. The second increase is of Student Service fee. Currently SHSU students are required to pay $150 per semester, which will be increased to $171, an increase of $21 per semester and $42 for an academic year. What is so confusing about this figure is that 50 percent of the total money collected goes directly to the athletic department to fund scholarships for athletes and pay operational costs. My point is, we are boosting the cost of student service fees and if half of that money goes to athletics, that means of the $546,000 of new revenue, the athletics program is getting an additional $273,000 per year. This is in addition to what they are already receiving, giving them a grand total of approximately $1.8 million dollars in funds for next year. Why are we increasing the money athletics receive when the support for the program is minimal? One of the new fees introduced by Gaertner is a course fee. This will range anywhere from $5 to $40 per course. This is in hopes of improving the current classroom conditions in some of the more dilapidated facilities. I commend them on this. I for one would love to have a new classroom to learn about history. All courses will be affected, even the large survey courses that really don’t use technology, such as history classes. Most students can expect the cost of their course fees to be roughly $60 per semester, which creates an additional $780,000 of revenue for one semester and a whopping $1.56 million for the academic year. The last of Gaertner’s fee increases is one that I am personally questioningthe advising fee. This is a new fee of $50 per semester, creating an additional $650,000 of revenue for one semester and $1.8 million per academic year. Please show me the need for that much money to do a job the university has been doing for years. I have been advised twice in four semesters. I am hesitant to pay $800 for advising over an eight-semester stay at this university to be advised twice. I met with the College of Arts and Sciences Dean Brian Chapman and left with a new understanding of how the money will be spent. Not only will they be paying for improvements to the university, but they will be fulfilling its current obligations to the students. I never realized that receiving an education could be so expensive, but factor in everything needed to teach a class such as chalk, paper and light bulbs for classrooms…At the meeting Tuesday, I was reminded by Senator Mike Kaatz that, “We are customers of this university, and we must not lose sight of that.” Oddly enough, I think that comment hit closer to home than many of the explanations that I heard. Okay, so I have provided you with individual statistics of how much money the university will gain from the new increases. That is a lot of money, and I am just curious as to where it will be going and if I will ever benefit from the plans they have.I would like to remind all students they do have a voice, and if we speak loud enough, we can receive the answers to many of our questions. At next Tuesday’s SGA meeting, members of the administration will be available to answer any questions about this issue, and it is our right and responsibility to be aware of the changes that are going on. At a time when school pride seems to be lagging, this is our opportunity to bond together and have a united voice. Our administrators should be held accountable for what they do. Remember, this is your university.

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