The UConn Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, December 7 to vote and, yet again, unanimously approve increases in student fees for the upcoming 2017- 2018 academic year. The increases included an additional $178 for housing and additional $164 in board fees, according to a report by the Daily Campus published on December 9.
Alone, these fees may seem modest; however, these increases still constitute a noticeable difference for those students who are already struggling to afford the rising cost of college tuition, fees and other expenditures, such as a textbooks and school supplies. From the university’s perspective, it is understandable that fees will increase from time to time to adjust for increased costs. However as UConn has continued to face a tightened budget in recent years, the first instinct has always seemed to be the same: put the burden on students by increasing tuition and/or fees. These increased fees accompany a $775 increase in in-state tuition and $1,050 increase in out-of-state tuition approved previously. Furthermore, the Board also voted to approve a $700 “annual visa compliance fee” for international students at the same December 7 meeting. Surely, there are other ways for the university to save and/or raise money which will not sacrifice the quality of education or prestige of the university.
The repeated fee and tuition increases are problematic in themselves. However what is especially concerning is the manner in which they were approved. Continually, the Board of Trustees has voted on, and approved, such increases during the last week of classes. This is a time when students are busy finishing up classes or studying for finals. As a result, students are less likely to be aware of the vote and have the necessary time to lobby against them. This method of voting and a lack of student outreach when it comes to tuition and fees are not new and needs to change going forward.