BOG rejects Academic Enrichment fee proposal

The Florida Board of Governors (BOG) Budget and Finance Committee voted against USFs proposed request for a new fee-neutral student fee.

During its Wednesday meeting, the committee voted 5-4 to reject the Academic Enrichment and Opportunity Fee, which would have gone toward student involvement initiatives such as travel abroad and internships and was estimated to generate $751,704 for the Tampa campus.

The BOG also rejected similar academic enhancement fees such as the University of Floridas Undergraduate Enhancement Fee and the University of North Floridas Academic Enhancement Fee, which was intended to improve student retention and graduation rates.

USFs proposed fee was considered fee-neutral because it would have prevented the increase of existing fees, thus coming at no extra cost to the student.

Historically, the financial aid fee and tech fee have increased about 5 percent every year. If the new fee had been implemented, for the next school year they would not increase.

If the fee had been approved, a committee of faculty and students would have been formed to determine how the funds collected would be spent.

Though conversations over the fee were originally conducted before the state Legislature decided not to mandate an increase in base tuition, USF President Judy Genshaft said during the meeting the implementation of the fee would be delayed for a year.

It would be out at least a year, she said. That would give the time for the students to conduct their referendum and check it out with the student body.

Student body President Matt Diaz said during the meeting the fee would have allowed students to gain experience and job skills in their field of interest.

Ive seen so many of my friends who are so ill-prepared, he said. Its not just your GPA. Its not about your test scores. Its about what you did in college.

However, the majority of committee members said no to most fee proposals at the meeting.

Committee Chairman Tico Perez said voting decisions this close on fees is something that is rarely seen in BOG meetings.

I think we should spend a little more time this summer providing more and more examples of fees which we consider within the scope and fees outside of the scope, he said during the meeting.(It would) bring more clarity so that next year, there wouldnt be more difficult


BOG member John Temple said the BOG was drawing too strong of a line against student fees and that he understands that universities are desperate for revenue.

I think if the presidents agree, the administration agrees, the faculty agrees and the students agree … (then) I dont know what were doing here, he said. We spent less time making a decision on providing a path for a 12th university thats going to cost us hundreds of millions of dollars and were sitting here nitpicking universities over micromanagement issues, in my opinion.

Universities have five days to decide on appealing the decisions. Hassouneh said the decision to appeal has not yet been made by USF.