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The Daily Wildcat


Breakdown of the mandatory UA fees

Undergraduate students at the UA pay over $500 every year in mandatory fees. Here is the break down.

Tanner Jean-Louis, a cultural anthropology senior and treasurer of the UA Student Services Fee Advisory Board, stated in an email that the board works dilligently to represent students’ interests and maintain transparency.

The board, which is composed of 11 undergraduate and graduate students, makes funding recommendations to the vice president of Student Affairs.

“One of the ways we seek to represent student interests is through our annual survey sent to all students at the university,” Jean-Louis wrote in an email. “This survey gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to share their opinions on which student services deserve priority funding.”

According to Jean-Louis, there are numerous ways the Student Services Fee Advisory Board aims to make fees transparent: all funding recommendations are made during public meetings, dates and times of the meetings are made public and distributed to university departments and minutes for each meeting are also posted on the board’s website.

“All students are encouraged to attend these meetings and share their thoughts with the board,” Jean-Louis wrote.

This upcoming year, according to Jean-Louis, the Student Services Fee Advisory Board plans to host events where students can get to know the board, learn about the roles of each member and, most importantly, make suggestions regarding fees and find out more ways to get involved.

According to the Bursar’s Office, a total of 10 fees are subject to UA students, including an Arizona State Financial Aid Trust fee, a Health and Recreation fee, an Information Technology and Library fee, a Student Media fee, a Recreation Center Bond Retirement fee, a Recreation Center Program fee, a Student Services fee and, finally, a Wildcat Events Board fee.

In addition to these fees, all students must also pay a one-time enrollment fee of $390, and freshmen must pay a $10 fee.

For undergraduates participating in the Guaranteed Tuition Program and taking more than seven units, the fees rack up to $516, while fees for non-guaranteed tuition graduates total at $510.

All of the UA’s mandatory fees have been approved by the Arizona Board of Regents; however, a few of the fees date back to the late 1980s. The Recreation Center Bond Retirement fee was proposed in 1985 for a $25 per-semester fee and was implemented in the Fall of 1990.

According to the Bursar’s Office website, “Although this fee is mandatory, it will cease once the bonds have been retired, therefore it is not a user fee.”

It is unclear when the bond will be completed.

Nicky Stenerson, a pre-veterinary science junior, said she questions the mandatory fees. At the start of Stenerson’s freshman year, she read through the fees and was surprised by the amount and the requirement to pay them all, regardless of if she’ll be using the service.

“Not everyone goes to the Rec or wants to go,” Stenerson said. “You shouldn’t have to pay for a service you aren’t going to use, especially when half the time I don’t know what the services are and have never heard of them.”

The most recent fees added to the list are the Student Media fee and Wildcat Events Board fee, both of which were enacted in 2013.

According to the Bursar’s Office website, the Student Media fee provides funds for student-run organizations like KAMP Radio, UATV and The Daily Wildcat. The Student Media fee has recently replaced the KAMP fee, effective in fall 2013. The Wildcat Events Board fee assists with funding Wildcat Events Board programs such as Cat Fest, which will feature a T-Pain concert in a few weeks.

Although Stenerson said she feels the steep mandatory fees are sometimes excessive, she also said, “I think they are necessary if you are going to use the service they go toward.”

Follow Amanda Oien on Twitter.

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