Faced with a 9.5 percent increase in tuition and national talk of recession, students at the University of Maine are also finding a list of miscellaneous fees on their bill – $965 worth per semester for an undergraduate taking between 12 and 15 credits.
Approved by the Board of Trustees, the four mandatory fees are paid by every student at the university. How much each student pays is dependent on a few factors, notably credit hours taken.
The priciest of these is the unified fee, which according to Bursar Dennis Casey is for “a lot of costs not directly associated with tuition – for example, the library, the Union, Student Records and so on.” The unified fee costs the average full-time undergraduate student $803 per semester.
Students’ fees are also paying for the new Student Recreation and Fitness Center built last year. Whether or not they actually use the facility, each UMaine student taking more than six credits will pay a recreation fee of $102 per semester.
“That money goes toward paying bonds the university borrowed to build the Rec. Center,” Casey said. For this fee, only classes taken on the University of Maine campus count toward the credits for determining the cost the student pays.
The only fee that is different for undergraduates and graduates is the activity fee. Undergraduates with six or more credits pay this, as do all enrolled graduates.
“That fee is for activities and locations for campus groups and is issued directly to the Student Government,” Casey said. Undergraduates pay a $45 activity fee per semester and graduate students pay $30.
The smallest of the four mandatory fees is the communications fee, paid by all students with six or more credits. “This covers things like ‘The Maine Campus’ newspaper and WMEB,” Casey said. All students pay $15 per semester.
Aside from the mandatory fees all students pay, some are paying other fees as well. Some colleges at the university, including the colleges of business and engineering, have class fees that vary with the amount of credits taken in classes within those colleges. Deans of fee-charging colleges must request these specific fees and state how the money will be used.
Having switched student billing from cards sent in the mail to splitting the information between Web DSIS and MaineStreet, this summer has caused many students to also receive the $100 late fee.
“I was bugged about the change in billing, because I was having to switch between MaineStreet and DSIS to find out what was going on,” said Ryan Labelle, fifth year computer science major.
Claire Strickland, director of budget, said, “I’ve heard of this problem and that several inappropriate additions have been removed from students’ bills.”
According to information given from its Web site, students at the University of New Hampshire have a variety of mandatory fees, many similar to UMaine’s. Students taking between nine and 20 credits pay $1,168 per semester in fees, while students with five to eight credits pay $584, and students at UNH with less than five credits only pay a $15 technology fee.
Vice President of Finance and Administration, Janet Waldron said, “I feel our fees are very reasonable and often lower than other institutions.”
“Students who feel they have an exception to a fee can appeal through the dean of their college through the retroactive appeals process,” Casey said.
If you feel you should not have to pay a mandatory fee, submit a statement to the dean of your college for consideration.