BOT in favor of student tuition, fee increases

USF students will likely pay more for tuition and fees in the fall after the Board of Trustees Finance and Audit Workgroup (BOT FAW) unanimously voted at its meeting Thursday to raise several rates for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

The group opted to increase the tuition differential fee by 7 percent for all undergraduate students on top of an additional 8 percent tuition increase that the Florida Legislature recommended in its budget. The Board of Governors must vote to allow raising the fee, while the tuition increase still awaits approval by Gov. Charlie Crist.

The BOT FAW also voted to increase local fees by 15 percent beginning in the fall. These fees are allocated to Activity and Service, Athletics and Health. The three entities recently pledged the increase would directly benefit students in the form of campus-wide improvements, including finishing the Magnolia intramural fields by October, purchasing equipment for the new Campus Recreation Center, constructing new soccer and tennis facilities and increasing staff at the Counseling Center.

It took advantage of the one-time opportunity to raise the fee beyond the 5 percent cap, which was allowed when the legislature passed the Higher Education Conforming Bill last month. Crist must also sign this bill into law before the increase takes effect.

Meanwhile, the BOT FAW voted to implement a new Global Experience fee in the fall. This means students will begin paying a $10 flat fee per semester. Provost Ralph Wilcox said at the meeting that this will generate about $1 million per year and help fund study abroad scholarships.