Nutmeg Publishing has been in charge of creating yearbooks for the student body for over 100 years. Every year, the group sends its yearbook to all fee paying graduates after commencement. The cost for this keepsake is very low, $6 a year and $24 for a four year student. This fee is the lowest out of all the Tier III groups on campus.
Due to increases in enrollment over the past decade that have driven up production costs, Nutmeg Publishing requested a fee increase of $2 per semester, without which the group will not have sufficient funds to create a yearbook by 2019. In 2016, the Student Fee Advisory Committee agreed to this price increase. However, they were subsequently turned down by the UConn Board of Trustees, who decided in 2015 they would not increase the price of the activity fee bill. They were also influenced by statements by President Herbst, who in the past has outlined opposition to increases in these fees.
Of all the times for the Board of Trustees or President Herbst to be fighting to keep fees down they certainly have picked the least important. An increase of $4 per year is essentially nothing next to the tuition and fees that most students pay. These tuition costs and other fees have increased substantially in recent years, with the measures often being announced right before finals week or after closed door meetings. The administration has not shown enough regard for keeping costs down in the past, and frankly this instance comes across as an attempt to improve their image and nothing more.
Blanket policies and statements are seldom a good idea, as they leave little room for maneuvering. In this case, while the intention of keeping costs down is certainly a good one, the reality of the situation is that only a fee increase will keep Nutmeg from going into the red. The group has already done all it can to cut costs, so the university must step in to help them. Nutmeg Publishing plays an important role in student life, and a fee increase is necessary to allow them to fulfill that role.
Yearbooks cost an estimated $50 to $60 to produce, and even with this increase a four year student will only pay $40 for a trove of memories that will last forever. That is one thing worth spending money on. As Nutmeg Publishing Editor Ann Bortey put it, “Would you rather have a yearbook that brings you back to your time at UConn or Starbucks coffee that will bring you happiness for five minutes?”