Our lack of reporting on fees so far this fall might lead one to the false hope that, perhaps, things are looking up on that front! We assure you, they are not. Instead, we provide a small update on the current state of affairs.
Your Student Services Fee is still “at work,” as Welfare Wednesday has finally returned after three weeks of school. The Student Union website still insists that it is only available to full time students, though, as we have pointed out before, part-time students also have to pay the fee. Nevertheless, we recommend you take advantage of the subsidized meals while you can, as it still seems to be the most direct way to make use of the $40/semester fee.
With the gym/bistro/tutoring center/computer lab/cafe at its center, the Health and Rec fee might be the most visible in terms of actual changes occurring on campus. The Daily Wildcat reviewed the fee recently, covering some of how it’s been used and reminding us of our favorite metric for student support, the 0nline survey. From the article (irony emphasized):
Campus Health Service and Campus Recreation surveyed 4,800 students last year before requesting the fee. Out of the students surveyed, 64 percent approved a mandatory fee.
“We did have student support,” Kreutz said.
Many students were not aware of the fee until they received their Bursar’s statement.
“It was just when I went to pay the bills,” said Nate Kennedy, a systems engineering senior. “I think it was expected with the [Recreation Center] expansion. I wasn’t really surprised,” Kennedy said.
While it seems surprising that people missed the entire hullabaloo last spring over the upcoming Health and Rec fee, “student support” would imply a little more than widespread failure to realize they were paying a mandatory $20/month gym membership. The kicker, however, was further in the article:
Approximately $1.6 million of previous state and university funding for Campus Health Service has been returned to the university due to the fee. Campus Recreation has returned an additional $589,000 in funding.
Not only did Campus Health not need the extra money from the fee, they kept the fee money and returned the other university support. Our university is no longer subtly suggesting that they can milk students for extra funds, they’re stating it outright.
On top of these, we still have the infamous Honors fee–$250/semester appears to be valuable enough to earn its own FAQ on the Honors website. We provide an excerpt: the answer to the question, “How will the new fee help me?”
The fee will be used to fund Honors, interdisciplinary courses that will be cross-listed in order to be elective credit in several departments. Our goal is to have courses that serve students in social sciences, fine arts, and humanities areas where the numbers of Honors students limit the opportunity to offer Honors courses.
Never mind students in engineering, non-social sciences, or Eller–this fee doesn’t help them.
Though we would like to continue referring to these non-class fees in the context of the University’s Special Fees Policy, it appears the original page is no longer available, and several tries to find the policy on their website have been fruitless. Giving the university the benefit of the doubt, we respect that their website has undergone significant change recently, but we do question how much intent was behind removing the policy from the website and replacing an entire web area dedicated to university fees with a single page from the Provost’s office.
We leave this review questioning the University of Arizona’s strategic plan–if we’re simply focused on increasing enrollment, especially of minority or underprivileged students, why continue reducing accessibility with more fees? One might question their plans for success.