By Julianne Mosher
Campus activity fees are becoming the most expensive statements tacked onto tuition. As tuition rises higher with each passing year, students are beginning to question how the fees relate to them on campus and how they are of importance to them.
On student tuition bills, $8 are set aside per credit for each person for campus activity fees. As an example, if one student is taking a full 18 credit semester, he or she will pay an extra $144 in fees. However, a part-time student with two classes adding up to 6 credits pays $48 in campus activity fees.
This adds up to a lot of money for the 14,000 students who attend the Ammerman campus. According to public tax records in 2009, the student activity fees gained more than $200,000 in revenue after expenses. Students paid about $3.5 million, but the school only spent about $3.3 million.
The money is split up between different organizations; student organizations, campus activities, operations and maintenance, athletics, and theater.
Each area receives different amounts for the year. Student organizations – which include clubs such as the Student Government Association – gained the most money from the revenue with over $600,000. However, theater received much less gaining only about $215,000 and athletics reaped about $300,000.
Lauren DiMarzo, a sophomore studying liberal arts, has a very strong opinion about the fees she is required to pay. She is currently enrolled with the school and hopes to begin studying nursing all while working two jobs.
“I work about 40 hours a week between my babysitting job and working at Best Yet. My parents help pay for my tuition, and I pay for anything else such as books.”
DiMarzo has a very hectic schedule. Like many of the students on campus, it is hard for her to join the various clubs the school has to offer. She was interested in perhaps joining the sign language club, but unfortunately she does not have time commit.
DiMarzo says she should not be paying for student activity fees because she simply does not attend anything. She believes it is a waste of money. “I feel that if students want to be involved in an activity or register their car to drive that should be a separate payment,” she said.
“I feel like many of the students are making their way through college on their own,” she said. “I understand why activity and driving fees are included in tuition, however, we are paying for something that we may not even take part in.”
There are about 67 clubs located on the Ammerman campus alone. Every year some are added and some are cut depending on how they work out with students. Of the 14,000 students attending the Ammerman campus, only a small amount of people actually stay for a club or an honor society during common hour. It is estimated that about 650-700 students are involved with clubs.
Sharon Silverstein is the director of campus activities and student leadership on the Ammerman campus. She is the woman in charge of foreseeing all of the student affairs that happen at the school.
Silverstein noted that the funding for campus activities covers more than just clubs. The fees also include child care, theater, athletics, publications, and all campus activities. They also cover the events that clubs sponsor, such as guest speakers, trips, and transportation.
“[The fees] give people the dollars to express themselves… that’s what the moneys for,” Silverstein said. “That is what school’s about. Expressing yourself.”
She also noted that when a student walks into the gymnasium – a seemingly normal act – to play basketball on the court, the money being put towards student fees is actually paying for that specific court. Certainly these fees are being used to aid students with a variety of different services.
But interestingly noted on the tax forms, the salaries and benefits of the persons in charge of the daycare system and those who also manage the money are supported with student funding. Also documented were those who never took leave or called in sick received crude absence compensation for their perfect attendance. But how could this be beneficial to students?
“The school takes advantage of the students attending and will find any way possible to collect money. It’s a business,” DiMarzo said.