Students face mandatory, non-mandatory fee increases

Along with the athletics fee, the health services portion and student success portion of the student activity fee will increase next school year.Tech requested three mandatory fees and six non-mandatory fees be increased for the 2011-2012 school year during Monday’s Tennessee Board of Regents Finance Committee meeting. Jan. 14 was the deadline for fee submission from TBR institutions.

“Today’s meeting is to ensure that we recommend approval of a fee and we as staff are comfortable with the fee and are addressing the defined need of an institution,” Vice Chancellor Dale Sims said. “The adjustment is recorded by documented need.”

Non-mandatory fees expected to increase are lab materials fees, international student registration fees and the post office box rental fee. Tech also requested to establish fees for international student deposits, fines for violations of the University’s drug and alcohol regulations and increased traffic violation fines.

The mandatory athletics fee will increase $50, bringing the total fee to $200. The athletics fee justification was inflation, especially concerning scholarships.

“These [mandatory fees] are fees that every student enrolled has to pay in order to be properly registered,” Sims said.

The increase in the student success portion of the student activities fee will increase $38, totaling $58. The funds will be used to continue the support of student retention efforts, including the one-hour University success courses. Since implementation, freshmen retention has increased by four percent.

In addition, funds will also be used to support more centralized advising, a learning commons in Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library, and transformation of residence halls into learning commons.

The health services fee portion of the student activity fee will total $30-a $10 increase. The increase will allow Tech to stay up-to-date on the increasing cost of supplies, pharmaceuticals, professional expertise, and health-care technologies.

“We think that as we work through fee proposals that we should be particularly sensitive to how they impact students,” Sims said, “assuming that there could be a maintenance fee and tuition increase.”

No increase in price will be added to the lab materials fee, but HEC 2032 will be added and HEC 1300 removed from courses to which the fee is applied.

Fines for violation of University drug and alcohol regulations were originally handled through the Institutional Student Disciplinary Rules process. Tech has requested fines be set at $25 dollars for the first offense, $50 for the second offense and $100 for the third offense. Funds from fines will be used to support Student Affair’s drug and alcohol education and awareness programs.

Currently, Tech’s traffic fines range from $5 to $200. The increases for various offenses will provide additional incentive to adhere to parking and traffic regulations. By increasing the fines, Tech will have fines more in line with those of other institutions.

Tech requested the post office box rental fee increase $1. The increase will be used to compensate for cost of operations. Door locks with advanced security technology will be added to the aging boxes. Tech is also addressing increasing student and campus demand by expanding the shipping and receiving service to include all major carriers to provide better cost competitiveness.

An increase for international student registration of $70 was proposed. The increase is requested to offset complex and costly international student immigration processing. Immigration forms require considerable time and specialized knowledge.

Tech requested to establish an international student deposit fee of $300 per international student. The deposit will be held and applied to the student’s final semester of study at Tech. If the student transfers or drop out, the deposit will be forfeited.

Tech submitted nine requests to be reviewed by the committee, totaling a three percent tuition increase to replace revenue.