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    This or That: The Honors College Fee — Productive or Petty?

    This or That is a weekly feature in which members of the Perspectives staff weigh in on a campus-related topic and issue their final verdict from two options. This week’s question is “The Honors College Fee — Productive or Petty?” Starting in the fall of 2010, the Honors program introduced a $500 fee for all active members of the Honors College. Just one year later, their enrollment totals have fallen. The Honors College defends the fee by detailing all the benefits associated with the program, but not everyone is convinced.

    Jacquelyn Abad

    Verdict: Petty

    Who knew being smart came at a cost? A cost of $250 per semester for Honors College students. Along with smaller honors classes, Honors College students receive benefits like registering for classes early, access to the honors computer lab, events and sitting next to someone who is on the same wavelength as them. Honors College students work hard to be in the college and placing a $500 fee deters other smart students from joining.

    It is hard enough trying to maintain a 3.5 grade point average, required by the Honors College, on top of other extracurricular activities. The Honors College fee should be waived as a reward to overachieving students. Although the college needs the money to fund classes, scholarships and advisers, the UA should be responsible for setting aside money to support the Honors College. Hardworking students shouldn’t be penalized, or charged, for wanting to apply themselves in the classroom. Sure, there are perks to being a part of the elite college, but a $500 fee a year is ridiculous.

    I hope it’s worth it when the Honors College students are wearing a $2000 sash at graduation.

    Andrew Conlogue

    Verdict: Productive

    No one likes to pay extra fees. They are never enjoyable, but sometimes they aren’t completely horrible. The Honors College fee, while not even close to being pleasant, is at least doing more good than harm. If utilized properly the fees should, in time, actually benefit students more than the college itself. If the program is worth the fee charged, then a reasonable transaction is taking place and everyone should be happy. If not, students in the college can always veto the fee with their feet and walk out on the program, as they should if the college is charging a higher price than the program merits. That should either create a better program, worth every penny that it charges, or eliminate an overly ambitious bureaucracy that was overreaching in the first place. At the risk of sounding overly economic, the consumer comes out on top. And when the student is the consumer, that is a good deal indeed.

    Daniel Desrochers

    Verdict: Petty

    Many advantages come with being an honors student: You get more rigorous classes, special housing and priority registration. However, the biggest drawback to being in the Honors College is the monetary fee associated with it. Honors classes are far more rewarding and challenging, and the difference in class size and content gives a big advantage to honors students. Students in the Honors College did well enough in high school to be rewarded with a more rigorous academic challenge and now they are basically being forced to pay extra money to the school. The honors students are the ones that the university goes to when trying to impress higher-caliber students to attend the university and they are the alumni who are often asked for money. The university has lost a large amount of funding in the past year, but it makes no sense to pinch the pockets of their flagship students. The monetary fee also causes one to inquire as to where the money is going. There are 1,200 freshmen in the Honors College, which means they are receiving $600,000 per year from the class of 2015 alone. If the college could really justify the estimated $2,400,000 dollars they are earning each year, then maybe it would be worth it, but priority registration and smaller class sizes are hardly worth $500 a year.

    Megan Hurley

    Verdict: Productive

    Trying to prepare for college is challenging. However, one of the only things that I think is harder is trying to figure out where all of my money goes when I pay for things in college. One of the first times I was on UAccess, I called up the Bursar’s Office and tried to figure out what facilities I was actually using that I had to pay for. They were incredibly helpful, but many of the programs I was paying for were not part of my daily life on campus.

    The Honors College was one of the few fees that I sincerely understood. I take honors classes that open my horizons in small lecture halls with an even smaller group of students. There are more discussions and I get the chance to explore topics even further based on the curricular structure. Many of the honors courses I am currently taking involve field trips on the weekends that not only educate me, but also make me appreciate the class material on an entirely different level. If I need to pay an extra fee for the Honors College, so be it. Education is something that money can give but cannot take away from an individual.

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