Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Colleges Tack on Student Fees

Excerpt from article in the New York Times by JONATHAN D. GLATER
Published: September 4, 2007

"College administrators say public universities are increasingly tacking on fees for the same reasons that some are experimenting with differential tuition for different majors: state support for higher education has languished, and legislatures shy away from approving tuition increases. Fees can often be set by individual campuses.

"At just over half the nation’s four-year public colleges, fees rose faster than tuition in the 2005-6 school year and the previous year, according to the College Board, which tracks trends in college costs. Over all, in 2005-6 — the most current year for which there is available data — fees rose by an average of 8 percent to 11 percent at public four-year institutions, well above the rate of inflation.

"These days there may be a fee for every imaginable service. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga this fall is collecting a new $25 health fee. Montana State University Billings for the first time is charging a $10 library fee. The University of North Dakota has imposed a $37 per semester fee to pay for pulling its whole athletic program into Division I. And students at Arizona State University face a new $25 technology fee. . . . "

"Private colleges have fees too but educators say that usually they are dwarfed by tuition, which can be set without seeking approval from lawmakers or any other outsiders. George Washington University became the first college to break the $50,000 mark when it approved for the class of 2011 tuition of $39,210, a food allowance of $3,400 and housing prices of $8,500.

"Public colleges cost far less but the imbalance between fees and tuition can be hefty. In Massachusetts tuition at public universities has not risen in six years. But students are swamped in fees. The University of Massachusetts Amherst charges a service fee, a health fee, an activities fee and a curriculum fee, which together add up to about $4,100, or nearly five times the tuition of $857 per semester. "

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