This past week, many students learned that a new, mandatory fee will be added to their fee bill beginning next year in order to service the new student recreation center that is scheduled to open this summer. The fee increase, which will begin appearing on students’ accounts this fall, will be $250 per semester for undergraduate students and $200 per semester for graduate students. This, coupled with the constantly increasing price of tuition, housing and textbooks at the University of Connecticut, has rightfully made some students frustrated with the system. However, more so than the actual increase in fees, students are upset that they were not given notice of the increase prior to now. While students knew the new gym would be opening, they were unaware of just how much it would cost them.
The increase in student fees due to the new rec center was first agreed upon in 2013, well before most current students at UConn were members of the university. Because of this, the majority of students were unaware that this significant increase in student fees was coming. An increase in student fees is inevitable each year, as the university needs money to take on new projects and fix old problems, but a $500 increase is substantially higher than what students anticipated. Additionally, this mandatory fee will be in place for 30 years, generating approximately $300 million dollars in revenue for the university. With all of this money being collected without current students being officially notified of these increases, many are feeling blindsided by the university.
In addition to wanting to know where their money is going, many students are frustrated with the fact that a $500 gym membership is simply too high. This fee is mandatory for all students, regardless of whether you are a gym user. While this may seem unfair to some, this is the way our society works. We pay taxes to fund projects and organizations that benefit our states and country, while not always directly receiving the benefits. For some students, this will be true of the new rec center as well. However, for those not using the new rec center, and for those that will enjoy the new facilities, a $500 fee is far too high. While the facilities will be spacious and the machines brand new, no gym membership costs $500 for what will primarily be an eight-month contract for most students.
Whether or not individual students will use the new gym, it seems that everyone will have to play a part in funding it. Besides the fact that a $500 gym membership is outrageously expensive, the university needs to work on their communication with students regarding where these funds will be going. It may seem unjust to some to pay for a gym that they won’t take advantage of, but it is more unjust to give our money away without clear communication of where it is going.