Every semester, fees upwards of $800 are tacked onto the bills of University of Colorado Boulder students. An extra $232 is added to this cost for new students. The majority of these fees go towards services that are offered by the university, many of which are on campus. Due to a mostly remote campus, the quality of these services are reduced and the number of services that can be accessed are reduced. Student fees should be reduced for all students this semester.
Currently, the Registrar’s office reports that roughly one-fourth of the student population is attending on-campus classes. This means the majority of the student body is not using campus facilities. Students are still being charged for many of the campus facilities and services.
Students pay a fee of $106.96 for the Recreation Center Expansion. Exactly $85.27 of this fee goes towards repaying a bond debt for the expansion of the Recreation Center. The remaining $21.69 goes toward supporting the operations of this facility. The Recreation Center is currently at only 20-30% capacity compared to normal and the hours and facilities available are reduced. Students are charged $276.31 per semester for a Student Activity Fees. Over 11 million dollars a year, or 46.9% of this fee, goes towards the Recreation Center.
Many students are not using the Recreation Center this semester due to COVID-19 restrictions or because they are not living on or near campus. Anna Wilson, a senior at CU Boulder studying Business Marketing, has chosen to not use the Recreation Center this semester. Wilson does not like working out with a mask on and finds there are too many COVID restrictions to easily access the facilities provided. In the past, Wilson was a frequent user of the Recreation Center and its many facilities.
“It’s really unfortunate to me,” Wilson said of paying unused fees, “I know I could put that money to use somewhere else such as paying for an extended wifi bill since everything is online.”
Over eight million dollars a year, or 32.8% of the Student Activity Fee, goes towards funding the University Memorial Center. The UMC currently has a reduced capacity, reduced hours and numerous closed services such as The Connection, CU Event Planning & Catering, CU NightRide, Dennis Small Cultural Center, Radio 1190, and the Alferd Packer Grill (with the exception of those with a meal plan).
New students at CU Boulder are charged a mandatory fee of $232. A large chunk of this fee goes towards the New Student Welcome Program. In the past, this may have seemed like a good deal, as students received a packed-full week of activities, culminating in a concert with headliners such as Zeds Dead, Snakehips, and D.R.A.M. This year, the majority of the events were virtual and instead of ending with a concert, ended with an online event featuring Trevor Noah via Zoom. It’s hard to imagine that hosting virtual events could cost as much as a week’s worth of in-person activities and surely the quality of these events is not the same when students are sitting in their closet-sized dorm rooms attending them virtually.
Students are charged $10 a semester for the Arts and Cultural Enrichment Fee. This fee allows students to attend performances for a reduced rate and use certain facilities, such as the Natural History Museum and Art Museum, both of which are currently closed. Students are charged $28.50 a semester for a Student Athletic Fee which helps to fund certain athletic programs and reduces the cost of tickets for students. However, all Pac -12 sports have been canceled this fall. Students are charged $15 for the Bike Program and $78.42 for the Transit Fee. Services such as the Buff Bus have significantly reduced capacity rendering it less accessible. The remainder of the student body who are hybrid/remote have no need to access campus and many have no need for these services.
Colette Czarnecki, a first-year master’s student of journalism, has a mixture of in-person/hybrid classes and remote classes. Czarnecki said she goes to campus about once a week and has not used the transit services yet. One of her classes is held off of CU’s campus at Chautauqua Park. For her program, she would normally use the Armory building a lot but has only used it once.
“I was reading about these fees and thinking it was unfair because they are not going to be available to us,” Czarnecki said.
A small rebate of up to $143.61 is being offered for those students who are fully remote. However, many students, such as Wilson and Czarnecki, are not using these services even if they have an on-campus class, as they do not feel safe or they visit campus so infrequently that it is not necessary.
The list of fees goes on and varies depending on the area of study. For example, all students pay a Student Health Fee of $97.09 and a Mental Health Resources Fee of $67.86 regardless of whether they use the health center. All students pay a Capital Construction Fee of $100, the majority of which goes towards five capital construction projects on-campus. All students pay a Student Computing Fee of $67.24 which goes towards maintaining buildings on-campus, providing computing access and computing labs. Law students pay an extra $150 for a student service fee which goes towards student organizations and activities. New International Students pay a $500 student fee, $268 of which goes to an international student support program. Business students are charged an extra $23 fee to pay for the Business Career Center.
What is clear is that students are being charged high fees for services they are not using due to a mostly remote campus. Students should not be charged the same fees as in previous semesters when the quality and access to these services and facilities are drastically reduced. All students deserve a refund for fees that they are not directly using this semester.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Emily Ladd at firstname.lastname@example.org.