$10 fee added for international student activities

Denise Wright

Hazim Alsaleh, a first-year master’s student in business administration, enjoys activities sponsored by the Office of International Affairs, but this semester he is paying for it.

A new activities fee was added to the bills of all international students this semester after being approved by the Board of Trustees in May. Debra Lyons, interim director of the Office of International Student and Scholars Services, said the $10 fee will cover monthly coffee hours, student orientations and activities done by international student organizations.

Ken Cushner, executive director of the Office of International Affairs, said the fee will also cover welcoming new international students, transportation fees and support services for the students.

Cushner said although students might disagree with the fee, he feels it is a reasonable request, considering other universities may charge more.

“This is simply a small attempt to enable us to anticipate and respond to some of the unmet needs of the international student population with greater regularity and with increased support,” Cushner said.

Alsaleh, however, thinks the fee will not be beneficial and is not needed.

“There were great activities before the fee was present,” Alsaleh said.

He also said he was only able to attend one activity last year because of his schedule and knows other students have similar conflicts.

“Students who are not able to participate in the activities are paying for nothing,” Alsaleh said. “Although it’s only $10, I feel I’m already paying enough for tuition.”

Cushner, on the other hand, said with more than 800 international students paying the fee, the office will be able to hold more activities than in previous years.

“The needs are often much greater than the funds that are there,” he said. “This is a way to provide a resource that wasn’t available elsewhere.”

Cushner said activities from previous years were paid for by contributions from a few interested academic units, or when available, from unused resources within the Office of International Affairs.

“Prior to this fee, funding for such activities in the past few years has been sporadic and unreliable, making it very difficult to plan activities and provide support for international student organizations with any regularity,” he said.

Cushner said students will be charged each semester, but overall he hopes the increase of activities will help with the retention of international students.

“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to get more students involved,” he said. “This will enable us to do things we haven’t done before.”

Contact Honors and International Affairs reporter Denise Wright at [email protected].