No new fees till 2003

Kelly Tyko

FAU’s going to break tradition this year. For the past five years, increases in student fees have occurred annually. But for the 2002-2003 school year, University officials decided to leave fees as they are.

“This year, we thought given the bad economy and the fact that we know there will be another tuition increase — let’s give the students a break,” said President Anthony Catanese. “But next year, we’ll see.”

At the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 14, Catanese proposed the delay of fee increases until July 2003. The board unanimously approved the recommendation.

Over the last few years, FAU’s fees have become the state’s highest in way of the public universities. Among the increases last year, were a $3 increase to the athletics fee, and another $3 addition to the activity and service fee (A&S). For every undergrad credit hour, $34.29 goes toward fees – take 15 credit hours and pay $514.35 just for fees. Matriculation fees, your actual tuition, are another $835.05 for 15 credits.

In November, Catanese told the UP that there’s good reason why FAU students pay more.

“You get more at FAU. We include more things than other state universities do in the fees. For example if you want to go to athletic contests, at other schools, you have to buy your tickets,” said Catanese. “And of course, students get all tickets free here — for football, basketball, baseball, it’s free.”

Student fees, which universities have authority to increase without legislative approval, have historically been the way Florida schools have offset the combination of low tuition rates and low state funding. Nationally, Florida ranks among the lowest in tuition rates.

The Florida Legislature sets tuition for the state’s 10 public universities. The 10 schools have the same matriculation fee (the base tuition fee of $55.67 per credit hour), the same building fee ($2.32), the same financial aid fee ($2.78 to fund school-sponsored scholarships), and the same capital improvement fee ($2.44 set aside for future construction).

While students might be exempted from fee increases, there’s not a guarantee that they won’t still be forking over more money. A tuition hike by the state is a different story.

In his budget plan, Gov. Jeb Bush has recommended giving trustees limited control over out-of-state and graduate tuition. Under his proposal, in-state tuition would rise by five-percent, plus out-of-state and graduate tuition by another five-percent, at the trustees’ discretion.

Catanese said, “We know there will be tuition increases,” though how much remains uncertain.