UConn committee calls for end to “nuisance” fees
STORRS — Almost 11,000 University of Connecticut students would pay fewer fees as part of a plan to streamline charges for course materials, student services and other non-tuition expenses.
The recommendation, which will presented to the UConn Board of Trustees at its Feb. 21 meeting, come from a committee appointed last year by UConn President Susan Herbst to make sure fees were fair, reasonable and applied consistently.
The committee, chaired by Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Scott Jordan, likened some to nuisance fees.
“Individually, the materials fees are so small and generate so little revenue … that charging them creates the unwanted perception that the university is ‘nickel and diming’ students,” according to the report.
The committee, in its report, says students should expect that their tuition covers non-textbook materials, and that many of the fees generate so little revenue that the schools or colleges offering the course should feel little financial impact.
Many of the fees were developed over time through different processes and often without policy oversight.
“Knowing that, it is wise for institutions to press ‘pause’ from time to time to assess their fees and fee structure, from top to bottom,” Herbst said.
In the future, the group recommends establishing a new Executive Student Fee Committee, which would hold a public review process for every new student fee request and would advise on fee-related policy decisions.
Eliminated would be fees charged to students majoring in landscape architecture, maritime studies, drama, business, nursing, music, and digital media and design. They range from $10 to $700 yearly.
Also cut would be fees for academic materials charged to more than 10,000 students in about 170 labs and courses such as engineering; fine arts; liberal arts and sciences; pharmacy; and agriculture, health and natural resources. They range from $10 to $95.
The committee also wants the general university fees modified and a review of the transit fee to ensure the amount reflects the level of access that students have to CT Transit and other public transportation.
UConn’s Board of Trustees review UConn’s undergraduate and graduate student fees each year but the last in-depth scrutiny of the fee structure took place in 2001.