The Arizona Desert Lamp

Come on and take a fee ride

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 13 March 2009

Fees at a parking lotSpringtime is upon us, which must mean that the fees have bloomed over at the Arizona Board of Regents. From today’s Wildcat:

“The regents are wrestling with a new era of how you fund quality higher education in Arizona,” Shelton said. “The state is no longer able to, or willing to, invest in higher education as they have in the past.”

. . .

Another solution is raising student fees, he said.

“It’s a question of balance,” Shelton said. “The balance between what the state is willing to invest in the universities and what we have to ask the students and their families to invest.”

Proposed fees include increased utility fees, mandated employee expenses [emphasis added – EML], student health and wellness, academic advising, information technology and library fees.

“How much of this responsibility do we know will be placed on the students and their families?” Shelton said. “And how much of it can we deal with through alternative forms?”

These fees are things that the state is unable or refuses to support, Shelton said.

“We have to find ways to keep up the quality and keep up the accessibility,” he said. “Part of that is going to be higher tuition and fees coupled with financial aid.”

Mandated by whom? Assuming that the state is behind these sorts of requirements, then there’s no reason that the state should not provide for them when it comes to state employees. If the state can’t afford to provide for these mandates, might it not be a good time to consider their effectiveness?  The good news is that ABOR does not appear to be entirely in lockstep with Shelton’s proposals:

Regents Vice President Ernest Calderón said there is a chance that these fees will be decreased or rejected.

“Clearly we have to come up with money some place,” he said. “The question is at some point, when you charge too many fees, you lose the students interest in the course or the major or the university.”

The bad news is that it might have worse options in mind:

He also said there could be other proposals, putting the financial burden further on the backs of the students.

“Clearly the students are going to be carrying more of a burden next year,” he said.

By large, students managed to avoid mandatory fees this year; most of the increases came in the form of differential tuition. However, there is one new mandatory fee in the complete list of fees for 2009-10 [PDF]:

VP Student Affairs – Freshman Fee – Undergraduate – $20

The chart refers the reader to page 197, without indicating what document the number refers to or where it can be accessed. This fee was not included in the supposedly comprehensive list of fees proposed – who pushed this? It also provides no indication as to whether the $20 is per semester or per year (although, curiously, ASU’s approved fees do). It also fails to indicate exactly what a “freshhman fee” entails – do fee revenues pay for freshman-specific services? If so, what are some examples of those? Are the fees paid only by freshmen, or by all undergraduates?

Meanwhile, the administration’s mouthpiece, UANews, has begun a new series just in time for the season:

This week’s edition of “PodCats” is the first in a three-part series profiling current UA student fees and how they have been invested in resources benefiting students. This week’s edition focuses on the technology fee.

Nothing like Pravda-style investigative reporting. Apparently, since print journalism is so twentieth century, the podcast fails to include a transcript. No matter; it’ll just take us awhile to transcribe the important quotes.

Image courtesy of Flickr user greenasian


One Response

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  1. […] me -the Wildcat reported that President Shelton was seriously looking at implementing specified fees: “It’s a question of balance,” Shelton said. “The balance between what the state is willing […]

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