One issue that galvanizes both sides of the political spectrum is the inflated cost of attending college. Although the cost of tuition along with room and board is far too high, the costs are a necessity for the vast majority of the student population. The expenditures that cannot be justified are exemplified through the exorbitant fee structure in place at Miami University.
The most prominent fee is the “basic general fee”, with a whopping cost of $1,939 each semester. It covers various services that are provided to students such as music organizations, the Goggin Ice Center and intercollegiate athletics, to name a few. Other fees combined with that add up to $2,790 a semester, such as the transit, facilities, student technology, matriculation and the Armstrong Student Center.
The question that has yet to be answered is why the University charges students for services they will not use?
If one were to travel to the various parking places around campus they would see hundreds, if not thousands, of student owned vehicles. Why should these students pay for public transportation if they do not want the service? Most will not use public transportation very often, and if they do, the cost of an individual bus ride on a few occasions surely does not total to $66.
Similarly, the Armstrong Student Center fee needs to be explained. During a student’s two semesters on campus, the charge is surely warranted, but why does the charge apply to classes taken over the summer? If someone is in Chicago, Cleveland or Columbus taking an online class, they are not using the facility but are still being charged. It is negligent and predatory for a public university to charge students $110 for something they know fully well will not be utilized.
The most egregious use of student money is for the Athletic Department and its facilities. Each semester, more than half of the $1,939 general student fee is allocated to the athletic department. In 2011 David Creamer, vice president of finance, told the Miami Student that these charges are important because “It’s really the other things that broaden the kind of experience you have here, but it’s not as closely tied to the educational experience. The belief is that it is enhancing your educational experience but it’s not directly connected to that degree you pursue.”
The idea that intercollegiate athletics enhances the educational experience of the student body is farcical. The attendance for some sporting events borders on a few dozen and the campus does not exude pride in its athletic programs. Unless the benefits are delivered through other means, it is difficult to accept the notion they significantly contribute to the campus environment or enhance the educational experience.
The solution to the problem of excessive fees lies with the individual student. There are various fees that are necessary and provide essential services, but there are others that should be at the discretion of the student, not the administration. Students should not be forced to contribute toward public transportation. If a student finds that having a bus pass would benefit them, then they should be allowed to purchase it, but for others with a car or those who do not want to use public transit, why should they be forced to pay for it against their will?
The administration should take up similar reform when it comes to the Armstrong Student Center. If a student does not live near campus and cannot access the facility, under no circumstances should they be forced to pay for it. It is the responsibility of the administration to ensure there is enough funding to maintain the building, not the student body.
The athletic department also needs reform. Students should have the ability to decline to provide above a certain level of funding to athletics if they do not see it necessary for their educational experience. The amount of student money spent on intercollegiate athletics is irresponsible. There are many students who are paying interests on student loans for sports they never saw, nor care for.
The job of the administration is to create a campus that meets student needs. The line of demarcation has been broached and decisions that should be made by the student are being decided for them. If the administration seeks to meet best interests of the students, it would be within their purview to return choice to the student.