Students might face unprecedented tuition hikes for next year, but the amount they will pay in fees will be lower.
An effort by the student fee advisory subcommittee to eliminate unnecessary fees resulted in a $10.41 decrease in student fees for 2012-13.
$22.00 decrease to the debt service fee
$8.74 increase approved by the subcommittee to student transit fee
$2.85 total increase approved from other smaller departmental fee increases
$10.41 total decrease in student fees for all students next year
The subcommittee approved several small fee increases for both undergraduate and graduate students, and removed $22 of the student debt service fee.
The debt service fee decreased because the University has satisfied the Student Recreation Center’s debt for construction.
The increases approved by the subcommittee don’t come close to matching the $22 students are getting back, said Dwayne Pinkney, associate provost for finance and co-chairman of the subcommittee.
“I think students in general will be happy to be paying less next year,” he said. “But I think what balanced the notion is that students will still be receiving the same level of services while generally paying less.”
The subcommittee met seven times throughout the semester to discuss fee increases for next year, and Pinkney said the subcommittee’s commitment to thorough fee investigation was strong.
“There was a full discussion on every fee,” he said.
Graduate student representatives on the subcommittee were also pleased to hear about the general fee cost decrease, but said this is only a temporary resolution.
Alex Mills, treasurer of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, said he is happy that the committee took student concerns seriously, but said he is still worried about the future for graduate students.
“It is clearly not going to be possible to hold the line on fee increases indefinitely,” Mills wrote in an email Wednesday. “This year’s decisions don’t really help reduce the uncertainty and unpredictability about future fee increases.”
Mills said the possible major increase to UNC’s cost of attendance worries most graduate students he has spoken with.
“Most graduate and professional students subsist on a fixed stipend or on loans,” he said. “They need to be able to plan ahead over a two- to five-year period to ensure they can afford to go to school,” he said.
The largest fee increase approved, with the exception of increases for individual graduate professional schools, was an $8.74 increase to the student transit fee for all students. Other smaller fee increases made up the additional $2.85 and were approved for other departments.
Student Body President Mary Cooper, who served on the subcommittee, said keeping student fee increases down has been her priority from the start.
“I am definitely happy that fees will be smaller next year,” Cooper said.
Mills said this fee reduction is at least on the right track given the economy, especially when considered alongside looming tuition hikes ahead.
“The best thing that student leaders and administrators can do is make sure that we are including fees in the broader discussion about affordability,” he said. “We need to make sure we are being realistic about what students can afford.”
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