A transportation access fee for about $2 per credit hour is closer to being implemented into tuition. The transportation access fee committee voted in favor of a recommendation for the fee this week.
However, no plans for notifying students, faculty and staff about this fee, if it is implemented, have been made yet.
Sammy Kalmowicz, Student Government senate president and committee member, said if the fee is implemented, it will increase shuttle service and help open a new parking garage possibly by fall 2003 behind the Library.
Kalmowicz said the committee will not be notifying students, faculty and staff of the fee if it is approved because it is the university’s responsibility.
Mike Griffin, student body president, said that the university may be responsible for informing students about the fee before it is added to tuition. Griffin said before he attended USF he did not remember a notice being sent out for the athletic fee.
“If there was, I didn’t see it,” Griffin said.
Griffin said students should be notified by mail or through Oasis about the transportation access fee before students are charged for it.
“I definitely want to make sure students are aware of this,” Griffin said. “I will do everything to get the word out.”
Griffin said if the fee is approved he will make sure the administration is held accountable for the money they are receiving by meeting with Parking and Transportation Services regularly.
Once the committee approved of the vote, Kalmowicz said the recommendation was passed to President Judy Genshaft for review and the Board of Trustees will make a decision whether the fee should be finalized with a majority vote today.
Noreen Segrest, from the Office of General Counsel and chairwoman for the committee, said if BOT approves the fee then they have to notify the Florida Board of Education before the end of this year, and the fee would be attached to tuition beginning with the fall 2002 semester.
Kalmowicz said the committee wrote the recommendation for a fee increase as long as Parking and Transportation Services agreed not to increase parking permits more than $5.
Kalmowicz said that anyone who registers for classes will have to pay the fee if it is approved by the BOT. Kalmowicz said faculty and staff who are not registered for classes will see an increase of about $20-$70 in their parking permits so that the fee will not be paid only by students.
“We wanted to spread out the cost so students are not taking the burden and paying for all services,” Kalmowicz said.
Senior April Sherwood said a per credit hour fee is too much money to charge students and that people should be notified by mail during the summer if fees are going to be added to the fall tuition.
“A per credit hour charge is too much money, because there are so many students,” Sherwood said. “They need to be realistic with their charges.”
Kalmowicz said the idea to include the fee in tuition charges was so students could avoid a $20-$30 parking permit increase. Also, students with scholarships would have the fee paid for, as well as faculty and staff who have their classes paid for by the state, he said.
Kalmowicz said if the fee is approved, the $2 per credit hour charge is not a definite charge. The committee voted on that as a projected amount, and fees may increase to $2.75 per credit hour for 2004. Student parking permits may increase in the same year by another $5, making the cost $110.
Kalmowicz said students need to understand that the fee will be paying for more shuttles and extended routes to places off campus, in addition to 1,200 spaces in a new parking garage. For students who do not use these services, Kalmowicz said the fee distribution needed to be done fairly.
“People pay for taxes to the government and don’t use all the services the government provides,” Kalmowicz said. “With services we pay for, students will have an opportunity to use them.”
Senior Chad Barker said students need to realize the fee will increase parking spaces on campus and that fee increases happen.
“Someone should tell students, but a memo doesn’t have to be sent to every house,” Barker said. “Fees increase. It happens.”
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