TBR to finalize, review student fee increases later this month

Students aren’t going to see relief from rising fees anytime soon. Not only did the Tennessee Board of Regents Finance Committee approve the student activity fee athletics fee, and health services fee during the March 7 meeting, they also reviewed requests from Tech for housing increases. Monica Greppin, interim communications director, explained how the approval process works for the Finance Committee.

“While considering the recommendations submitted by each campus,” Greppin said, “the Finance Committee reviews each [request] to make sure they conform to state law, guidelines and the board’s previous practices. The committee also makes sure each recommendation is supported by a documented need, serves to positively impact the Complete College Tennessee Act completion agenda, and is in alignment with any THEC recommendations for tuition rates.”

The student activity fee will increase $38 bringing its total to $58 per semester. No conversation with SGA was held. However, the learning village concept was discussed with the prior SGA president during the 2009-2010 fiscal year, including the rollout schedule and funding source.

The athletics fee will increase $25 to a total of $175. No discussion was had with SGA or the student body concerning this fee. The last time the fee was increased was Fall 2010, when it went from $125 to $150.

The health services fee will now be $30, an increase of $10. There were also no discussions had with the SGA or student body concerning this fee. In the fall of 2007, the fee increased from $10 to $20.

The non-mandatory fees approved for included the laboratory materials fee for HEC 2032. However, fees for HEC 1300 were deleted. The fee is $20 per course.

The establishment of fines for violating University drug and alcohol regulations was also approved by the committee. The fines are as follows: $25/first offense, $50/second offense and $100/third offense.

The $1 increase per semester for the P.O. Box rental fee was approved. The last time this fee was increased was Fall 2010 when it increased from $14 to $15.

Tech also requested to have the traffic fines increased to provide incentive to adhere to the traffic policies. The TBR Finance Committee has no authority to act on this request.

“Traffic fines are considered part of the University’s rules, which are promulgated through the Administrative Procedures Act,” Greppin said. “That process involves the Board, the Attorney General’s Office, the Secretary of State and the Legislative Committee on Government Operations. They are not currently acted on through the Finance Committee, so those increases won’t be approved when the board meets next week.”

The increase of the international student registration fee was the largest jump approved by the committee. The fee increased $70, which brings the total fee to $100 a semester. The last change made to this fee was Fall 2008, when a summer semester was added.

The establishment of international student deposit was also approved by the committee. The fee will be $300 per semester.

Tech has also put in requests for housing cost revisions. Tech asked for residence halls fees increase 2.9-3.7 percent, which would bring the cost up from $535-$3,850 to $550-$3,850, generating $195,000 in revenue.

The apartments were requested to increase from four percent to 4.5 percent. The cost would rise from $335-$395 to $350-$900. Because the apartments are currently under construction, Tech has negative revenue of $410,000.

All fees, including housing, are reviewed by the Finance Committee for recommendation to the full TBR for a vote at the quarterly meeting. At this point, none of these requests are considered final and won’t be until the full board acts. The quarterly meeting will be held March 25.