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Committee proposes student fee increase

Students may pay $2.16 extra per credit hour to pay for proposed increases in Activity and Services, Athletic, and Health fees, according to a new proposal from the Local Fee Committee.

The largest request comes from Athletics that proposed an approximate 98-cent increase per credit hour that totals $948,200 in student fees. 

This includes a 62-cent increase per credit hour to allocate $600,000 toward
covering the differential of the full cost of attendance for
student athlete scholarships. 

NCAA legislation now allows universities to pay for an athlete’s full estimated cost of attendance beyond tuition and board, such as books and supplies and transportation.

The annual cost of attendance is estimated by the USF financial aid website to cost an additional $4,450 for each of the 158 full-scholarship athletes after deducting the value of a their current scholarship, according to the proposal.

The Athletic proposal also recommends a 16-cent increase per credit hour to spend $150,000 on student body initiatives, such as financial support for the marching band and cheer squad. 

“We want to be united as one,” student body President Cocco said. “If we want to be Bulls Country, we have to spread the spirit.”

The proposal also suggested funding post-game concerts and free student parking at home games. 

“It will only be a few cents rather than having to pay 15 dollars every game,” Cocco said. “Hopefully students will appreciate that and drive out to more games.”

Health requested the
second largest portion of increases, totaling $609,132 from a 63-cent per credit hour increase in fees. 

While most of the money would go to state-mandated salary increases, $190,485 would fund student services for mental wellbeing. This includes psychological counseling and Center for Victims Advocacy and Violence Prevention services.   

“There’s a heavy case load of wellness issues that have arisen,” Cocco said. “There are more people talking about sexual assault and other issues.”

Lastly, a 55-cent per credit hour increase to the Activity and Service fund was proposed, totaling $529,782.

From these collected fees, $67,500 would go to a workout area for USF Health and $68,000 for recreation at Andros. 

The fee increases were proposed by the Local Fee Committee. The committee is comprised of students and faculty. It meets at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

“We’re happy to hear any concerns and relay the questions,” Cocco said. “I’m happy to sit down with anyone.”

Student Government (SG) Senate President Andy Rodriguez said the reaction from SG has been mixed.

“Some agree with a majority of them,” he said. “Some feel very strongly against some (increases).”

On SG’s Facebook page, a number of students disagreed with fee increases for Athletics, though many expressed support for expanded counseling. 

Cocco said the Florida government has failed to spend enough on education and the burden, therefore, falls to students. 

“The ideal situation would be to split it between the funds that come from the state,” Cocco said. “Now with performance funding, we have to compete for those funds and there’s no guarantee.” 

Last year, USF ranked second in the State University System in performance-based funding, receiving nearly $9 million.

The proposals will go to USF President Judy Genshaft for approval. If she signs them, they will go to the Board of Trustees for final approval.