Feb 24, 2020

Student fees go far and wide to pay for student needs and wants

As students clutch in their hands a check and student I.D. card, waiting to pay their tuition and fees by today’s 5 p.m. deadline, some of them may be wondering what their hard-earned money pays for.

“I have no idea where the money goes,” said Pakou Vue, a sophomore child development major. “I’ve never thought about it, but it’s increasing like every year.”

So, where does the money go?

Chris Robinson, university controller at Fresno State, said the majority of the tuition goes toward personnel costs, such as salaries, and also toward the campus’ facilities.

From health services to the recreation activities in the University Student Union (USU), students are paying for a number of campus programs, services and maintenance costs.

A bulk cost of tuition – $1,386 and $804 for full- and part-time students, respectively – is considered the “state university fee.”

According to the Fresno State accounting services Web site, this money goes into a general fund to “replace state funds and thereby avoid budget reductions” and does not support any specific programs on campus.

The rest of the tuition cost comes from campus fees, which cost the same amount for full- and part-time students.

Robinson said each of the 23 California State University (CSU) campuses have the authority to make and set their own fees, except the state university fee, which is determined by the CSU Board of Trustees.

In comparison to the other campuses, Fresno State students are paying some of the lowest fees, according to the CSU Web site.

The most costly of these campus fees is the USU fee at $106.

Sally Ramage, director of the USU, said the money is necessary for operating the recreation area – the pool tables, bowling lanes and arcade – the Pavilion and food court.

Also, student fees support programs like USU Productions, which is responsible for many of the student activities, such as homecoming, throughout the year.

Senior Patty Phanith, an occupational therapy major, said she understands the need for these fees to manage the upkeep of campus facilities like the USU.

Phanith, 22, said she enjoys the perks of the USU such as the food court and Pit area, and takes full advantage of what she helps pay for.

Another fee students are required to pay for is for health services.

This allows the campus to provide all students with primary medical care, immunizations and counseling, as well as other services, according to the accounting services Web site.

Because it is a mandatory fee, students not receiving services from the Health Center still have to pay. However, many of those who do take advantage of the on-campus facility think the $89 is well worth it.

Vue, 19, who was unaware of the mandatory health service fee and has visited the health center only twice, thinks students should take advantage of the opportunity for low-cost medical care.

“If you think about it, you’d be paying more if you had to pay for health insurance [elsewhere],” Vue said. “If [students] don’t want to use it, then fine. But it’s a part of the school. They should help pay for it.”

Any student who finds it difficult to pay these fees by the payment deadline has the option to defer a part of their tuition through the Installment Payment Plan (IPP).

Mary Witte of accounting services said any student is eligible for the IPP, excluding those receiving financial aid or other fee waivers or deferments.

“There’s really not a review and approval process, as long as [students] make a commitment to pay their fees,“ Witte said. “We have a contract agreement that they sign with their first payment.”

The first of the two payments, which is due today, consists of half of the state university fee, all mandatory campus fees and course fees, including a non-refundable administrative fee of $33.

The second payment is the other half of the state university fee and the deadline is March 3.

Largely, the fees students pay are used to keep the campus up and running and students, like Phanith and Vue, don’t mind paying as long as they see the money being put to good use.

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