The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday December 5th

Student government to analyze whether student fees are used efficiently

With in-state tuition set in stone, student government will have a chance to examine another area in which it has some influence: student fees.

The UNC-system Board of Governors passed a two-year tuition plan this year that sets increases for the 2012-2013 academic year. If approved by the N.C. General Assembly, campuses would not be able to change the rate of the fee increase, but would be able to reallocate the money.

“It will give us more time and energy to focus on auditing fees,” said Student Body President Will Leimenstoll. “We really want to look at what fees we’re paying, see where that money’s going, and say, ‘Is this in the best interest of the students?’”

Leimenstoll said he wants to make sure student fees are being used as efficiently as possible.

“We don’t want to increase student fees, we want the fees we’re already paying going toward things that make sense.”

Two groups, the student fee advisory subcommittee and the student fee audit committee, can alter student fees.

Student Body Treasurer Shrija Ghosh said changing student fees will be a balancing act.

“We have to keep in mind that we can’t raise fees,” she said. “If we raise fees in one area they have to go down in another. It’s like balancing a budget.”

Dwayne Pinkney, vice provost for finance and academic planning and co-chairman of the student fee advisory subcommittee, said he doesn’t know if this year’s most controversial fees — athletic and transit — will be brought up again next year.

Pinkney said the vetting process for student fees won’t change.

“Every fee increase proposal will come to the (student fee advisory subcommittee) and be examined individually,” he said.

“The engagement in the subcommittee is the same, though, they just want to understand the fee increase.”

Student fees decreased by $10.41 for 2012-13.

Ghosh said Leimenstoll’s administration will focus on whether fees are being used efficiently.

“(The audits) will be making sure that fees are still serving students they were originally intended to and making sure that departments are spending money the way it’s intended to be spent,” she said.

Ghosh said the administration also wants to follow in former Student Body President Mary Cooper’s footsteps, and continue an audit of the Information Technology Services fee.

Ghosh added that Leimenstoll wants to get students more involved in the fee process, but does not yet have set plans on how.

“We want to make sure students are represented to the best of their abilities,” she said. “Will wants a full range of student opinions.

“(Lowering fees) is one of the great things (Cooper’s) administration did and we want to carry that on.”

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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