BOT irons out fee increases for next year

The bottom line is often on the collective minds of the USF Board of Trustees.

And the bottom line that came out of the BOT’s Friday workgroup meeting is that students may have to pay more to support the campus infrastructure.

Students at the USF Tampa campus may see an increase in their Transportation Access Fee from $2 to $2.25 per academic credit hour for each semester beginning in the Fall 2003 term.

Discussion of the Transportation Access Fee increase quickly became debate when student body president and trustee Mike Griffin said he believed USF President Judy Genshaft did not recommend the increase concretely. He also said he did not believe the increase was fair because students have said they haven’t seen any improvement, other than new shuttles, from the last increase in the fee.

“The issue is that, aside from the garage that’s going in a couple of months from now, the students paid a lot of money this year and have not seen any changes other than the shuttle run, and to go back and do another increase at this point is just not right,” Griffin said.

The debate was settled when Genshaft said she did not make a decision because she needs further information about the issue. Furthermore, Griffin asked to have the BOT recommend money gained by the increase be used toward a 24-hour shuttle, expansion of lots and increased lighting, especially in the Andros complex. The BOT approved the recommendation.

Unlike the purchase of parking decals, access fees must be paid for students to attend classes. The current $2 fee began during the Fall 2002 semester.

USF St. Petersburg also recommended the implementation of a $2.25 per academic credit hour Transportation Access Fee. However, the issue will not be settled until the next board meeting in June.

In addition to the increase in the Transportation Access Fee, the St. Petersburg campus requested the approval to increase their parking fee for the campus. Under the request, the projected fee for students would increase from $42 to $53 per semester and staff would increase from $58 to $78 per semester. Reserved, affiliate, vendor, remote, motorcycle and daily permit parking would increase as well.

Another fee that may increase for USF Tampa campus for the 2003-04 school year is the Housing Fee. The proposal for the housing fee increase was approved by the BOT, which means rates per room could increase from 4.1-6 percent. According to the proposal, the increase of the rates on a monthly basis ranges from approximately $17-$40 per month, depending on the facility. The proposal also said the fee increase will cover the anticipated increase in cost of living, ground and maintenance costs that were previously covered by USF and any indebtedness associated with the renovation of Beta Hall and the addition of 602 beds.

Trustee Lee Arnold said it was better to increase the fees annually than try to pick up the pieces.

“My belief system is that it is a lot better to (increase fees) annually than to try to defer and then catch up, because the catch up really burns,” Arnold said.