The Tuition and Fees Advisory Board is a meeting in which 15 representatives of the student body gather and cast their votes on the changes to tuition and fees that will occur next year and the year after that.
The Advisory Board is charged by the Board of Governors to review academic fees and tuition rates for the academic school years of 2015-17. Unlike previous years, this was the first time that two years would be consolidated into a single meeting.
This meeting was moderated by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Arthur Jackson and President of the Student Body Steven Serio. Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joan Lorden presented the tuition increases to the board.
Session one was held Nov. 12 and was focused on informing the board of the tuition changes and fee increases that they would be voting on.
Board members had the opportunity to ask questions regarding these changes to clarify what it was that the money would be going towards. The meeting went from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and was held in the Student Activity Center, Salons A-C.
The next day, board members gathered for the actual voting portion of the meetings. This session also gave UNC Charlotte students the opportunity to voice their opinions on certain issues regarding fees or the campus in general. This session was held Thursday in the Lucas Room of Cone University Center. It began at 3 p.m. and deliberations went on for three hours, one hour more than what was scheduled.
Members of the Advisory Board could choose to vote in favor of the change, against it or to abstain, which means to vote neither for nor against the motion. In the event the board was too differing, the vote would go to roll call. 14 members would cast their vote and the student body vice president, also a member of the board, cast a vote in the case of a tie.
The proposed tuition increase for undergraduate residents for the 2015-16 school year is three percent, a $106 increase. Tuition for 2016-17 will be raised by three percent as well, a $109 increase. This increase is to hire new faculty and staff and to keep salaries competitive compared to other universities in the UNC school system. It will also help aid the enforcement and accreditation of Title IX. The board approved of both of these increases.
Next were proposed changes to some college major fees. The colleges involved include the College of Arts and Architecture (COAA), the College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) and the College of Engineering (COEN). Since there is no cap for these fees, it is the board’s judgment if whether or not these changes are reasonable.
This fee will eliminate the current $80 School of Architecture fee and the current $80 Ensemble Course fee. A proposition was made for a $125 increase for 2015-16 and 2016-17. It will cover equipment purchases, curriculum changes, professional training to students and wages.
The $125 increase was approved for the 2015-16 school year; however, the board felt that another increase of $125 the next year was excessive. Instead, the board passed a $60 increase for the 2016-17 school year.
CCI requested a $75 increase from $225 for 2015-16 school year and requested $0 for the next. The justification behind this increase is to provide additional funds for the purchase of new technology, lab support and lab assistants’ wages. The Advisory Board approved both of these requests.
The COEN requested a $100 increase from the current $200 fee for 2015-16 and $0 in 2016-17. This fee will help support equipment maintenance and upgrades, as well as increasing staff. The board approved both requests for the initial amounts.
Capital and Auxiliaries Budgets and Planning Manager Kevin Hyatt addressed student fee increases for 2015-17. There is a $99 cap for student fee increases for 2015-16 and a $104 cap for 2016-17.
The total amount requested for 2015-16 was $104. Members of the board would have to decrease this amount by $5 to fit within the cap. For the year of 2016-17 the total requested amount equaled $104 and the board would not have to make any changes.
During the second session, two students spoke to the board concerning the inadequate amount of fitness space on campus and the need for a recreational center. Student Body Treasurer Max Bauer proposed to start putting money aside for the construction of a Health and Wellness Center (HWC).
Members of the board recognize that there is demand for a HWC. However, this would mean that money would have to be taken away from programs that need it now, to be put aside for several years later when construction of the HWC begins.
Advisory Board members deliberated on this issue for an hour before reaching a conclusion. Advisory Board member Adam Duso made a motion on the floor to decrease all requested amounts by 9 percent for 2015-16 in order to fix the fees within the cap. This would bring the total to $96 leaving $3 for the HWC.
Since the 2016-17 fees already fit within the cap, the board just needed to decide where to take the $3 from for the HWC. Duso made another motion for a three percent decrease across the board. This would bring the total to $104.
The total fees requested for the year of 2015-16 that the Advisory Board approved goes as followed. Athletics will receive $26 out of $29, Education and Technology was approved for $46 out of $50, Health Services will increase fees by $10 rather than $11, Recreational Services was approved for $6 out of $7, SAC and Venue Management will receive $3 and Cone Operations was approved for $3.
Also, the Advisory Board recommended the student fee commission receive a $1 increase from their initial requested amount of $0. Including the $3 for the HWC, this brings the total to $99.
With the recommended three percent decrease to the requested amounts of 2016-17, the only changes that were made were to Athletics and Education and Technology. Athletics will receive $29 of their original $30 fee increase. Education and Technology was approved for $56 out of the original $60 request. Bringing the total to $104.
“I think that it sends a message to the chancellor and the board of trusties that students are willing to pay for a health and wellness center,” said Serio. “So I think that it’s going to weigh heavily in the future.”
Also, a fee that was not mentioned during the first day, but was brought up in the second was the matriculation fee. This fee combines four fees into one. It is a onetime fee of $100 that students will pay upon enrolling to UNC Charlotte. Students that take a period of time off from school will not be charged this fee again.
This fee will combine the fees for commencement ceremonies, withdrawals and new student welcoming ceremonies. It will also allow students an unlimited supply of transcripts even after graduating. The Advisory Board voted 13 in favor and two against, passing the fee.
Ultimately, the Advisory Board does not have the final say in whether or not these changes are passed, they show their support and advice changes to requested amounts. Once the Advisory Board has finished making their recommendations, it falls into the hands of UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubious. It then travels to the Board of Trustees until finally reaching the Board of Governors, where it is approved.
“We wanted a student board here because students are the ones that pay the fees, so we wanted their input in the decision making process,” said Jackson.
The Tuition and Fees Advisory Board will now meet every two years due to the biannual budget meetings. However, a meeting can occur next year if the Advisory Board feels that the fees for 2016-17 need to be adjusted or reviewed.
To find out more about the annual Tuition and Fees Advisory Board Meeting, or to find further information about the approved fees for the coming years, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org