Where is your money going?

Students pay more than $2,000 each year in additional fees

By SAM FERNANDO
On April 29, 2014

If you've been at UB the past four years, you've paid the university more than $8,000 on top of your tuition. Some students are paying for services they've never used. And many don't realize it. The money is part of UB's Comprehensive Fee.

Where does this money go? And have you gotten your money's worth?

UB's website states, "The Comprehensive Fee is a consolidation of campus-required fees which support several University services. The Comprehensive Fee is paid by all students at the University at Buffalo, unless they meet fee waiver requirements."

This year, the funds totaled $48,721,000.

The Comprehensive Fee is broken down into seven parts: the Athletic Fee,

Campus Life Fee, College Fee, Health Service Fee, Technology Fee, Transcript Fee and Transportation Fee.

Feb. 15, Provost Charles Zukoski and Vice President of University Life and Services Dennis Black announced a new initiative via email that will increase the Comprehensive Fee by 3 percent each year until the 2018-19 academic year. Currently, students are paying $2,139. But in five years the fee will be $2,433.50 - and will total about $56,480,992. Fees are reduced for part-time students.

Even if students don't use facilities like the gym, use all of their printer queue, go to sporting events or use career or personal counseling on campus, they're still paying.

Dan Haugeto, a senior occupational therapy major, understands the reasons for the various fees, but he still finds some aspects excessive. He, like most others, is paying $509 for the Athletic Fee, for example. The money is split up amongst athletic scholarships, facilities, trainers, equipment and more - none of which Haugeto uses.            He said he could instead go to a gym off campus for $10.

Students like Throsby Wells feel like with the 3 percent increase, students in the future are going to be spending a lot in addition to tuition.

"It seems like $2,400 is a lot. It does seem like that's a big number considering how many students presumably pay that fee," said the sophomore linguistics major. "Dollar for dollar, I'm not really sure ... But I think it's important that I support other students in that sense."

Portions of the Comprehensive Fee may be waived if students fit certain criteria. To be eligible for the partial waiver, students must prove that "study takes place outside of the University at Buffalo grounds" and "the student DOES NOT have a current UB parking permit," according the waiver form. The only fees that can be waived are the Athletic Fee, Campus Life Fee, Health Services Fee and Transportation Fee.

"[The Comprehensive Fee] does include a lot," said Joseph Evans, a freshman biology major. "It's a good value if you use it. It differs per person. I go to the concerts, to a lot of the speakers, the gym and play basketball. I know a lot of people who don't and they should give you some sort of choice."

The Technology Fee cannot be waived because it "supports licensing in student labs and is paid for per head count of students on campus per our contract," according to UB Spokesman John Della Contrada. He said the Transcript Fee "allows students access to a lifetime service associated with printed transcript and is approved as such." The College Fee cannot be waived because it is SUNY policy.

Thirteen percent of the Comprehensive Fee is allocated for the general university service fee (GUSF). The fee is collected to offset administrative costs of services used by the public. The UB Foundation, the private organization that handles all donations to the university, and other entities process some of the GUSF.

Other fees you may notice on your tuition bill, outside of the Comprehensive Fee, include the Academic Excellence and Success Fee ($225), Mandatory Undergraduate Student Activity Fee ($189.50), New Student Transfer Fee ($120) and New Student Freshman Fee ($225).

Athletic Fee

Each year, undergraduates pay $509 toward the Athletic Fee. This year, this fund totaled $8,819,000 - split between Recreation and Intramural Services (7 percent) and Intercollegiate Athletics (93 percent).

UB emphasizes the fee "enhances the quality of life" and puts "UB in the national spotlight, which helps in the recruitment and retention of students," according to its website.

The money allocated for Recreation and Intramurals Services is split between student employment ($464,625) and infrastructure ($154,875), which goes toward programs like intramurals, aquatics, CPR and more.

The money for intercollegiate athletics goes toward student payroll ($359,380) like tutoring and mentoring services for athletes and grants-in-aid for women ($3,527,562) in Title IX initiatives, including scholarships. Money is also distributed to men's and women's sports ($3,408,498), which helps fund recruiting, team travel, equipment and Title IX initiatives. Infrastructure funds ($904,060) go toward academic services, training and equipment rooms, trainers and more.

Campus Life Fee

Undergraduate students pay $211.50 yearly toward the Campus Life Fee. This year, this fund totaled $5,232,000.

The fee covers campus life programs and services that "support student academic success and personal development" and "recruiting and retaining top students," according to UB's website. The university says the fee "assists UB in recruiting and retaining top students, positioning them for life success after graduation and nurturing a connectedness to UB, resulting in enhanced alumni relations."

This fee is split up into five expenditures: academic and co-curricular personal development ($2,197,640), standards and safety ($399,714), student engagement ($1,016,646), undergraduate experience ($1,072,000) and "the Heart of the Campus" initiative ($546,000).

The academic and co-curricular personal development component goes toward various leadership programs on campus, the UB 101 class, the many orientations UB has, Career Services, the Collegiate Readership Program and the marching band.

Student engagement initiatives help fund late night programming, the Intercultural and Diversity Center, fraternities and sororities, veteran services, Student Union operations and more.

The undergraduate experience portion of the money funds Student Affairs ($478,000). It also goes toward undergraduate education initiatives ($594,000), like seminars, the Academies, special events and more.

"The Heart of the Campus" initiative funds renewing, upgrading and renovating buildings.

College Fee

Each year, undergraduates pay $25 toward the College Fee. In 2013-14 fund totaled $611,000.

The money allocated goes to the University Police ($387,300) and the "Academic Mission of the University" ($223,700).

Health Service Fee

Each year, undergraduates pay $295 toward the Health Service Fee. This year, the fund totaled $7,347,000.

Many of the programs and services provided by this fee are free or "cost effective."

The money helps fund: Health Services ($3,283,000), Counseling Services ($2,596,000), Accessibility Resources ($368,000) and Wellness Education Services ($1,100,000).

Technology Fee

Each year, undergraduates pay $728.50 in the Technology Fee. This year, the fund totaled $18,021,000.

"The Technology Fee is used to address specific technology needs such as computing and information technology, library automation, connectivity and mobility, public IT service sites, and student system automation," according to UB's website.

The Technology Fee is allocated into five initiatives.

The digital library initiative ($6,077,553) helps continue to increase the number of electronic resources. It also funds facility services and 24-hour-a-day access to online catalogs.

The educational technology initiative ($1,282,000) aims to improve facilities, services, labs, software and training for instructors. It also helps maintain computing labs on North and South Campus.

Student Services ($980,000) provides support for student systems and service areas. It helps maintain multiple web-based service options, including career-planning services. It also goes toward technical support of Student Affairs facilities and services.

UBit ($8,809,000) provides web-based student services, like the HUB Student Center, MyUB, UBlearns and others. It also provides and maintains public printing services, network connectivity on campus, campus-licensed software, CIT Help Desk and others.

The money from this fee also goes toward updating and maintaining technology in classrooms ($873,000).

Transcript Fee

Each year, undergraduates pay $10 toward the Transcript Fee. This year, it totaled $131,000.

This fee provides unlimited official transcripts to students and alumni.

Transportation Fee

Each year, undergraduates pay $360 toward the Transportation Fee. This year, the fund totaled $8,560,000.

The money from this fee is split into two parts: Transportation Services ($6,505,600) and Parking Services ($2,054,400).

Transportation Services provides 28 Stampede buses, 16 shuttles, the Bikeshare program and more.

Parking Services accounts for "sufficient, convenient and safe parking for students, faculty, staff and visitors," according to UB's website.

 

email: news@ubspectrum.com


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