Per-credit-hour fee has raised more than $1 million

SeniorArt history majorCurrently enrolled in 24 credit hours

Administrators say the per-credit-hour fee implemented this semester is here to stay.

o far, the fee has raised $1.37 million, said Emily Vincent, director of University Media Relations. The revenue will help repay the university’s $170-million bond for campus renovations.

“This is a permanent restructuring of our program,” said Gregg Floyd, vice president of finance and administration. “It’s necessary to support the bonds that were sold to reinvest in the university campus — all the buildings and classrooms that are being renovated.”

Since Fall 2011, the number of students taking overload credit hours has dropped by about 40 percent.

Last fall, about 13 percent of students were taking 18 or more credit hours; this fall, however, about 7 percent were enrolled in 18 or more, Vincent said.

“I think those students who typically took 18 or more credit hours carefully considered the number of credit hours they scheduled to take this fall — weighing the costs versus benefits of taking 18 or more previously when there was no cap or limit,” she said.

The cap will be lowered in Fall 2013 to 16 credit hours, and Floyd said the amount of the fee adjustment will not be the same every year. The current $440 fee is the per-credit-hour rate, so if tuition increases, the fee goes up, too.

“It’s going to bring benefits in a short-term basis for the students; hopefully the students that are starting this year will be able to see and benefit from the monies that are being put in there,” Floyd said. “But certainly for many years to come there will be students that will be benefited by virtue of the improvements.”

Rachel Smeaton contributed reporting.

The Daily Kent Stater talked to six students whom have been significantly impacted by the per-credit-hour fee. Some students refuse to register for more than 17 credit hours because of it; others, like Wesley Doucette, are ignoring the surcharge despite the expensive price tag. He’s currently seeking approval to register 29 credit hours for which he would be charged $4,480 in overload fees.

Wesley Doucette

“I’m currently taking this many credits so I can graduate over the summer before my scholarships are dissolved. Though previously, before the cost hike, it was so I can learn the things I’ve always wanted to learn. … I couldn’t avoid this fee, but trust me if I could have, I would have. If it weren’t for the fact that I am a senior, I would have either chosen a different major instead of my double major or have transferred to a different university. This fee should have been introduced to the incoming freshmen instead so they can begin their education structure with it in consideration.”

Rita Steckler

“I was planning on taking an extra class for this semester, but I declined since I was already at 17 hours. The issue with that is I still need to take the class at some point, so I definitely have to take more than 17 hours in my last few semesters. If I stuck strictly to my roadmap, I’d be at 17 hours or more every semester. … I hate the credit-hour fee. Honestly, I think it makes sense too, which makes me hate it even more. I understand universities always need money, and it makes sense to have students taking more classes to pay more than students taking the minimum. … I’m signed up for 20 hours next semester because I simply can’t hold back on my credit hours now. My adviser even explicitly advised me to consider dropping two of those courses because of the fee.”

Andrea Michel

“I have mixed feelings about the fee. I do not want to pay any additional money than I need to. My major requires I take 18 credit hours, so I do not feel it is fair to add the additional fee. … At the same time, I know part of the money from the overload fee is going towards the new playground renovations at the Child Development Center. This is something I am passionate about. I am a student teacher there and know the benefits of outdoor experiences with children. … It almost feels as if the university is punishing students who want to take a decent amount of credits and graduate on time. … My major requires 18 credit hours for several semesters. I don’t have a choice but to pay it.”

Patrick Tregoning

“The credit-hour fee has taken a financial strain on my family. My parents are divorced, and my mother is fighting cancer, so between the medical bills and this tuition fee, my student loans do not cover my entire tuition. It is definitely tough. … If I could talk to the administrators I would remind them of how many students and families are struggling with paying tuition. This is something families cannot afford to pay with the state of this economy right now. I would ask administration to please, please, please reconsider this credit fee.”

Megan Melville

“I am a very stubborn person. I decided when I was a freshman that I was walking across the stage in May of 2013. … I am taking 27 credit hours this semester. I take this many credits because it is the only way in which I can graduate on time with both of my degrees. … I remember sitting in front of Olson Hall my freshman year with [my adviser]. I kept asking her why I wasn’t allowed to take more than 14 credit hours. I convinced her to let me take 16 credits, but beyond that she wouldn’t move. Past freshman year, the lightest load I’ve taken has been 18 hours. That was such a nice semester.”

Ariel Mathews

“I had to drop my [second] major in theatre studies, which I was very passionate about, and move to something more practical … just so I would be able to sleep at night [knowing I can] pay back the huge loans I’m going to be forced to take. … When I was trying to pick a university, the fact that all credits over 12 credits didn’t cost extra money was one of the biggest things that drew me to Kent State. The other big plus was the amazing theatre program. So I made the decision and moved in. … Without the fees, I would have scheduled around 20 credits for next spring to try to catch up to where I need to be on [my] roadmap.”

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected] and Melissa Kollar at [email protected].