Future first-year students attending orientation this summer will pay a higher fee than years prior due to a budget review.
According to Marnie Hauser, director of orientation, every three years the Office of Orientation does a budget review to analyze the fees and determine whether there will be an increase to cover the costs.
This year’s orientation will cost $195 for first-year students, compared to last year’s $175.
“We don’t love increasing fees for anybody,” Hauser said. “If it were up to us we would lower the fee or not charge at all. But the reality is that there’s overhead and cost to providing great programming and to support that programming, so, unfortunately, we have to charge for it. Besides, this increase in fees would allow us to keep the fees stable for the next couple of years as well.”
Despite the fee increase, first-year students and parents will be provided more time to solve financial aid information and registration holds.
With the implementation of the Privacy Act and changes in the financial aid verification process made last summer, families must be present with students in order to be given financial aid information. According to Hauser, more time will be provided for students and parents to solve those issues together during orientation.
“We have to provide more time so they don’t have to wait until the second day or make another trip back to campus to solve those issues,” Hauser said. “There’s a lot of different things that we’re doing both within our office and with our campus partners to start breaking down those barriers that stand in the way of students having a successful experience.”
This year, there will be approximately 100 first-year orientation leaders (OL’s). After international students are hired, this number might increase to 120. First-year OL’s will receive $10 an hour and returning OL’s or office staff member receives a slightly more depending on their length of service.
USF Orientation will increase the number of first-year student sessions to 14, beginning on June 3, compared to 13 from last year.
Last summer, orientation leaders were allowed to miss one two-day session due to a rotation system. Despite having a higher number of sessions this year, this rotation system has an unclear future.
“That’s not something we had ever done before and I’m not sure if we’re doing it again this year,” Hauser said. “We do a little bit of flex scheduling in terms of providing time off during session breaks — those sorts of things depending on a given day. I’m not able to determine that right now. We’d have to see what our needs are during sessions and how many students progressed through the class.”
According to Hauser, 4,700 to 5,000 first-year students are estimated to go through orientation this year.
“We build the foundation for what’s to come for their next four years of their lives,” Hauser said. “Our goal and mission is to provide a seamless transition for our new students, families, and guests and really start making their mark on the institution and get started in their academic career here.”