USF should raise student fees

A university fee committee will finalize a proposal today to decide if USF should increase student fees for the 2010-11 academic year. The State Legislature allows schools to increase fees by up to 5 percent each year.

With state funding dwindling, USF should take full advantage of this opportunity.

While the initial reaction from many students would be to oppose a fee increase, even the full 5 percent would only add $1.54 to total student fees per student credit hour (SCH). The advantage USF would receive for these funds would greatly outweigh the expense for students.

Student fees include Activity and Service (A&S), Athletic and Student Health fees. The A&S fee for 2009-10 is $9.31 per SCH plus a $7 flat fee. The Athletic fee is $11.76 per SCH plus a $10 flat fee. The Student Health fee is $8.60 per SCH.

The projected revenue for the A&S fee is $9.2 million, for the Athletic fee, $11.9 million and for the Student Health fee, $7.9 million.

The University is in much need of whatever money it can get after the state cut funding by $28.6 million this fiscal year.

USF has good reason to rely more on its students, and students have little reason to complain about fees.

According to a report released last year by the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida ranks second-to-last in education funding compared to relative wealth among all states and the District of Columbia.

According to a College Board tuition survey of all 50 states, Florida was one of four states with the lowest tuition and fees (under $4,000) at four-year public universities for 2008-09. With the allowed tuition increases, Florida will still be one of the cheapest states to attend school.

Low state funding combined with low tuition and fees means little revenue for USF. The A&S, Athletic, and Student Health Fee Recommendation Committee should approve the 5 percent increase. The University needs the money, and students will barely feel the increased cost.