Rec center changes enrollment policy

Jessie Marks

Students enrolled for fewer than five credit hours during the summer will be forking over more than just Flashcards to use the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Beginning Summer 2008, the rec center changed the credit hour enrollment requirement from one to five credit hours. Students registered for one to four credit hours must pay a $70 membership fee to use the facilities. For continuing students, meaning those students who are not taking courses over the summer but who are enrolled for fall classes, the membership fee is $90.

Julie Bair, senior speech pathology major, is taking three credit hours over the summer and does not qualify to use the rec center without paying the membership fee. She said the policy change did not surprise her.

“I feel like the university always tries to suck more money from the students,” Bair said. “I mean, how many people actually take five credit hours in the summer? People usually just take one course over the summer to get it out of the way.”

Jason Hawk, marketing coordinator of recreational services, said, as with any change, there has been some negative response. He said, however, the driving force in making this policy change was to create consistency across the three semesters.

To achieve consistency, the summer semester credit hour requirement was increased to match the fall and spring requirements.

“During fall and spring semesters, students’ access to the rec center is granted based on their registration of five or more credits on the main campus,” Hawk said. “When a student meets this requirement, a portion of their tuition and fees are given to Recreational Services to cover the cost of the membership access.”

Kimberly Rufra, associate director of programs for recreational services, said five credit hours is not arbitrary.

“The five credit hour number has been in existence since the very beginning, and it has to do with the overall assessment of fees that was already established on campus,” Rufra said. “There are formulas that are used in regard to the allocation of these fees and how they are allocated to various departments. Enrollment does drive that formula.”

Hawk said when students take fewer than five credit hours, the rec center does not receive the activities portion of the students’ fees.

Rufra emphasized that fairness to students who are registered for five or more credit hours and pay a portion of their tuition to the activities fee was a factor in the policy change.

“We have to take into account that person that is paying for five credit hours and is paying the fees,” Rufra said. “It’s not fair to them that it is coming out of their pocket but yet it’s not coming out of the next person’s pocket.”

Rufra said it is too early to estimate the number of students who are affected by the change in the credit hour requirement. The breadth of the student population affected will not be known until the end of the summer when the number of summer memberships sold to students who fall into the “one to four credit hours” category is tabulated.

Keith Adelman, senior communication studies major, is taking just one course this summer. His frustrations caused him to consider additional coursework as an alternative to paying the membership fee.

“We’re students of the university – why wouldn’t we be able to use all the facilities?” Adelman asked. “I thought about signing up for two more classes next session just so I could use the rec.”

Bair also considered additional coursework but decided it was not a cost-effective way to gain access to the rec center.

“I realized I would be paying so much more in tuition,” Bair said. “I can go run outside.”

Rufra acknowledges the potential impact of the policy change.

“It was a pretty huge step for us this summer, making this change,” Rufra said. “We want students to have access to this facility. If we could just open the doors we would. But unfortunately that’s not the scenario that we’re in.”

Contact student recreation and wellness reporter Jessie Marks at [email protected].