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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA to permanently increase graduation fees this month

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Alex Kulpinski / Arizona Daily Wildcat Starting this year, students must pay a new $50 fee in order to graduate.

Graduation fees are set to rise this month, giving graduates something more to worry about than making it through the semester.

When students apply to graduate they are charged a $35 fee, but this month it will rise to $50. The fee will be implemented starting with December 2012 graduates and on. If a student’s graduation application is late, he or she will be charged an additional $50 fee to graduate.

A portion of this fee will go to the President’s Office to help with commencement costs, which have also increased, according to Jody Payne, an assistant registrar in the Office of the Registrar. The rest of the candidacy fee covers the cost of diplomas and related registrar’s office expenditures, she added.

In order to increase the fee, the registrar’s office created a proposal and a fees committee approved it, Payne said. The UA has not increased the candidacy fee in 11 years and research of peer institutions showed that the UA fee was lower, Payne added.

The Office of the President will receive $14 of the $50 fee to cover various commencement costs, and the remaining $36 will go to the Office of the Registrar.

When explaining some of the registrar expenditures Payne said, “Well, staff salary is obviously one.”

The increased fee proposal went through the committee process, and given the expenses and what they were covering, the fee seemed reasonable, said Vice Provost Gail Burd, who runs the fee committee. There are three faculty members who sit on the committee, in addition to a representative from the bursar’s office, a graduate student and an undergraduate student.

The registrar’s office is slated to receive $248,000 from the fee increase and the president’s office is expected to get $96,000, according to Burd.

Despite the fee increase, Burd said the registrar’s office will come up $82,000 short in covering all the costs the increase was supposed to cover. This includes costs to make diplomas and help pay the salaries of UA employees who oversee degree checks.

With more students graduating over the years there are more commencement costs, said Keith Humphrey, the dean of students and assistant vice president of Student Affairs.

The UA has to print more commencement programs and open more staging areas to support the increase in graduates, Humphrey said, which places a higher cost on post-commencement clean up and opening extra facilities.

“I don’t really know what the money goes for, but it seems weird that we even have to pay for commencement,” said Kelsey Newman, a biomedical engineering junior. “I don’t agree with the fee going up unless they made commencement fancier than it used to be.”

Although fees for commencement are going up, the president’s office tries to find places that don’t take money from students to cover costs, Humphrey said. The UofA Bookstore, Coca-Cola Co. and the UA Alumni Association, among others, help alleviate commencement costs.

“The increase we will get from the registrar’s office helps us a little bit (with commencement), but I think the greatest need was just to cover the rising cost of managing the degree processing (in the registrar’s office),” Humphrey added.

Some students even think the fee increase is just a ploy to charge them more money.

“I think it is kind of ridiculous,” said Celeste Dipietro, a psychology freshman. “I think this is just their (the university’s) way of trying to get more money from us.”

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