Committee proposes increase of student fees

University fee committee members recommended a 5 percent increase in student fees Monday for the seventh consecutive year, which would raise total student fees by $1.54 per student credit hour (SCH).

Members of the Activity and Service (A&S), Athletic and Student Health Fee Recommendation Committee submitted a proposal to increase student fees by a combined 5 percent, which now awaits approval from USF President Judy Genshaft and the USF Board of Trustees.

State legislation gives universities the option to increase fees each year.

Student Government Press Secretary Michael LeBlanc said SG President Juan Soltero will serve as the “student voice” and consult Genshaft’s decision.

LeBlanc also said a meeting has not been scheduled yet but Genshaft will then decide whether or not to sign the proposal.

USF has raised fees every year since the 2003-04 academic year, when the total fee rate was $23.14 per SCH – $7.81 less than what students paid this semester.

This academic year, students paid $9.31 in A&S, $11.76 in Athletic and $8.60 in Student Health fees.

For the 2010-11 academic year, students will be expected to pay per SCH $9.99 A&S, $12.38 Athletic, and $8.84 Student Health fees.

If passed, A&S will increase by 68 cents, which will be used to expand the Campus Recreation Center, provide it with additional exercise equipment and begin construction on new intramural fields in the parking lot in front of Juniper-Poplar Residence Hall, said committee members at the Monday meeting.

Athletics will receive a 62-cent increase, enabling it to provide more scholarships to potential athletes while maintaining the cost of the athletic program.

The Student Health fee will be increased by 24 cents, which will be allocated toward programs promoting student wellness.

Students also pay $7 A&S and $10 Athletic flat fees at the time of registration.

SG Chief Financial Officer and committee member Shane Johnson said the committee’s allocations are “right on par” with student needs.

“I felt that as a student representative, it was necessary for me to be completely secure in the committee’s decision,” Johnson said. “After meeting with the individual representatives for the committees … I think students will be very happy with what we decided on.”

Representatives for the A&S, Athletic and Student Health fees spoke at the committee’s Wednesday meeting asking for fee increases.

“I think the (recommendation) committee did an excellent and thorough job, and now our job is done,” said Joann Strobbe, chief financial officer for USF Health and committee chair.

Committee members said the proposed budgeting will be worth the cost for students, and consider their meetings to be an overall success.

“It’s very encouraging,” said committee member Merrell Dickey, director of Geographic Outreach and Corporate Relations of the USF Alumni Association. “It bodes well for the University that (committee members) spend as much time as they do analyzing allocations.”