The USF Board of Trustees is meeting today at 11 a.m. to decide if it will raise residents’ parking permit fees and housing costs. While some of the newest charges may be justified if executed properly, other fees and deposits that may soon be required of incoming freshman are not only uncalled for, but send the wrong message.
According to university spokesperson Michelle Carlyon, the BOT will meet to discuss items on a consent agenda, which means that these items have been previously approved in a workgroup setting, but require further explanation to receive BOT approval. According to The Tampa Tribune, items up for discussion include raising the parking fee for residential students by $25, increasing student-housing fees by 6 percent and requiring a $200 deposit when first-time students enroll at USF which will be credited toward tuition costs.
The higher fee for residential parking is intended to guarantee a space for every resident student. Since the number of incoming resident students is unknown, the luxury is reserved only for currently enrolled students, as the USF Parking and Transportation Web page indicates. Enrolled students can purchase these permits on July 1; new students can purchase them two weeks later on July 15.
As parking remains an issue on campus, guaranteeing slots could be a welcomed change, if executed correctly.
Perhaps the most upsetting topic up for discussion is a raise in residential housing fees. Shared dormitory costs would increase by $170 to $272, making the lowest prices approximately $3000 a year — and that is assuming the rent covers one of the older, less luxurious facilities.
If USF is intent on extinguishing its stigma as a commuter university, raising the prices of already expensive dormitories — especially when comparable apartments are available cheaper off campus — sends a less-than-inviting message to incoming students.
The 7.5 percent statewide tuition increase was out of the BOT’s hands; however, raising these fees is within its control. Hitting new students with additional deposits and fees on top of an already pricey education is the wrong way to convince them to choose USF.