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University may raise student fees

While USF tuition has already increased this year, students may see a rise in other fees as well.

State legislation allows Florida universities to raise Activity and Service (A&S), Athletic and Student Health fees up to 5 percent each year.

The state already raised undergraduate tuition by 7 percent and allowed universities to increase tuition another 8 percent, which the University chose to do.

USF’s A&S, Athletic Fee and Student Health Fee Recommendation Committee – made up of students and faculty – will decide whether to increase fees.

Student Government Vice President Bruno Portigliatti said discussions about the increase were planned for a meeting Wednesday, which was canceled because of President Judy Genshaft’s University Address.

“Until we hear from these (other) groups, we can’t make a decision … I think if we’re going to raise any fees it has to be justified,” he said.

Committee member Luis Visot, executive director of the Joint Military Science Leadership Center, said it’s his first year on the committee, and he is trying to “assess” if an increase is needed.

“My position is initially to start from zero,” Visot said. “It’s going to take some persuasion and enticing for the most part in terms of what they think is important to cover (the fees).”

All student fees, which are paid at the time of class registration, increased last year, according to a release.

Visot said it’s important to see how that money was spent.

“I want to know what is the return of that investment,” Visot said. “What are you as a student getting back from that investment?”

For the 2009-10 academic year, the A&S fee is $9.31 per student credit hour (SCH), the Athletic fee is $11.76 per SCH and the Student Health fee is $8.60 per SCH.

Students also pay a $7 A&S flat fee and a $10 Athletic flat fee.

According to a release, the projected revenue from student fees for the 2009-10 academic year is about $9.2 million for the A&S fee, $11.9 million for the Athletic fee and $7.9 million for the Student Health fee.

Joe Donoghue, a senior majoring in education, said he doesn’t think the increase will affect him.

“I don’t think I will see any of the benefits,” Donoghue said. “However, it’s not voluntary, so I’ll have to pay it one way or the other … I think it’s funny how they try to sneak every last dime out of the students, but to me, a tuition increase is more important.”

Robin Rodney, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, said that a possible increase is unfortunate for students who can’t afford it.

“If they were at a point where they needed to cut something, then I would understand,” Rodney said. “But if they could modify … or do some cutting within the services and still provide (them) without having to ask for additional fees, that would be ideal.”

The committee’s next public meeting will be Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Administration Building Office 151.