Increased class fees this fall

Kristyn Soltis

Some programs add hundreds, thousands in student costs

Kent State’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to increase program fees for the 2009 fall semester because of the increased costs of instruction, instructional technology, advising and student services in academic programs.

“I think the easiest way to understand this is, imagine taking a chemistry class where you have to have special vials or special materials that are used in the class,” President Lester Lefton said during the July Board of Trustees meeting. “There are often special technologies associated with being in a specific program or in a specific course, and courses that have these special needs often have fees attached to them.”

Gregg Floyd, vice president for finance and administration, said Kent State has spent a long time trying not to do what other schools in the state have done, which is establish special fees that add extra dollars necessary to run a program.

“We still hold to that philosophy that we would like to be less aggressive in this area than many but we, under necessity, needed to do some things to help those schools that are more expensive to operate have the resources that they need to operate,” Floyd said.

Floyd said fees have become critically important under the new Responsibility Center Management budgeting model because individual colleges are responsible for “carrying their own weight.”

“Essentially, it’s to help those particular colleges have sufficient resources to balance their books at the end of the year given the costs that they incur,” Floyd said.

Denise Zelko, director of the university budget office, said it’s usually cheaper for instructors to use student fees to buy materials for class to receive a possible bulk discount.

“It would be cheaper for the student to pay this fee rather than pay out of their own pocket,” Zelko said.

Molly Miller, senior fashion design and merchandising major, said the board’s decision to increase fees might be necessary for some courses.

“There are some courses that do need special materials such as Fashion Fabrics,” Miller said. “They provide us with the fabric samples to test, a textile dictionary and the materials to test the fabrics. I can see having course fees for these types of classes, but other than that, I don’t think that there ever needs to be additional course fees, especially since the cost of tuition went up.”

The non-refundable program fees range from $25-$50 for undergraduates in the Colleges of Architecture and Environmental Design, Business Administration, Communication and Information, Education, Health and Human Services, Nursing (except students in the BSN and RN’s online program) and the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising.

Lefton sees these fee increases as “modest” compared to other Ohio university fees that can reach as much as $400 a year.

“These fees are necessary for the adequate delivery of these courses, new courses and new technologies. We think this is going to allow us to do things that we have not done before in a more efficient way that can meet student needs as well as college needs,” Lefton said.

Trustees also approved a change in the assessment of rates for distance-learning courses for the 2010 spring semester for both Kent campus and regional campus students to be earmarked at the Kent campus tuition rate.

Contact principal reporter Kristyn Soltis at [email protected].