The Board of Trustees approved fee increases for students that will go into effect for the 2017-2018 academic year at their meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
The proposed fee increases included $178 in housing and $164 in board fees in a plan designed to increase the fees by 3 percent each year through Fall 2019.
“The three-year plan was adopted to give more predictability to students, their families and the University in planning their finances,” UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said in a press release published by UConn Today.
“It’s a moderate, reasonable increase that is probably due,” UConn Undergraduate Student Government President Dan Byrd said. Byrd said that he is pleased that the fee increases were only moderate.
Byrd said that while he is disappointed that fees for students were increased, he understands that they were due to be updated since room and board fees have not been altered since 2014.
“I’m not all for increasing prices, but I think it needs to be seen from their (the university’s) perspective,” Allison Rice, a fifth-semester political science major, said.
Rice said that she thinks that there could have possibly been cuts to other areas so that the fee increases could have been avoided.
“There could have been cuts in other places,” Rice said. “We don’t need flowers all the time and green grass everywhere.”
The Board also approved the introduction of an annual $700 Visa Compliance Fee for international students who hold J-1 and F-1 visas.
“It seems like a lot, but we need it for these students to go here,” Byrd said.
The fee will be used to cover the costs of administering visa compliance through the Office of Global Affairs.
Reitz said that, in the past, UConn has absorbed the cost of visa compliance and services for students whose first language is not English but can no longer afford to do so due to reductions in state funding.
“The new fee will help ensure that we’re adequately funding the services that benefit international students, and it’s a more fair approach than the current method, in which money from students who don’t use those services is part of what funds them,” Reitz said.
The plan also included a proposed $40 increase for transportation services that would allow students to use the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s UPass, providing them access to Connecticut public bus services without any additional charge.
“However, that fee will only be charged if the program is ready as of Fall 2017 and the state has fully funded its portion,” Reitz said.
Byrd said that he is excited about this new program.
“Students will have access to an infrastructure that allows us to go all over the state and into New York City,” Byrd said. “It’s worth it.”
These fee increases come in conjunction with larger tuition increases, announced last year that will raise tuition by $775 for in-state students next year and $1,050 for out of state and international students.
“At this point college is just so expensive, adding more (fees) is just ridiculous,” Liam Iorio, a third-semester micro and cell biology major, said.
President Susan Herbst also announced that she is creating a committee composed of staff, faculty and students to review student fees and make recommendations on how they should be adjusted.
The committee will be chaired by Scott Jordan, UConn’s chief financial officer and executive vice president for administration.
“After reviewing all of the fees charged by UConn and the purpose of each, I have decided that now is the right time for that review,” Herbst said at the meeting.
The committee will present their findings and recommendations to Herbst who will relay them the Board of Trustees in the fall.