Miami University students pay the highest undergraduate general fee in Ohio; yet also have a high general fee, which administrators attribute to low enrollment. However, the university is trying to reduce its dependence on student contributions for areas like Intercollegiate Athletics to the general fee in order to spread needed funds to other facilities.
The editorial board of The Miami Student supports Miami’s effort in trying to lessen the dependence on student fees, however, students will still be charged with more fees in the coming years. Fee transparency is a large issue at Miami and needs to be reevaluated in order to clearly communicate the needs of the university.
The fee of $215 charged per student, per year for the Armstrong Student Center will be another burden to students. The board feels Miami cannot claim student fees are low, compared to other Ohio schools, because Miami tuition is so high.
Another example of added fees is the miscommunication about new fees implemented under the Strategic Priorities Task Force (SPTF). More courses will charge an added lab fee and these extra costs must be easily visible for students when they register for classes. For many students, surprise fees for classes that have new costs are an issue. The board recommends that for each class that has an extra lab fee, a symbol designating an extra fee or the exact amount of the fee be shown when students register for classes online.
The SPTF recommendation of adding a class drop fee also needs to be communicated to students when they register for classes. The specific guidelines need to be posted on BlackBoard so again, students won’t be slapped with surprise extra fees.
With the hike in fees, the board believes students have a right to know exactly where their money is going. If students know where their funds are appropriated, dollar for dollar, they are more likely to trust the university and justify the extra cost to attend Miami. For example, the “other” area designated as being funded by student fees must be explained. If the university has nothing to hide, they can surely show exactly where student money is going.
The board believes once students know where their money is going, they will be much more likely to appreciate certain services they receive. Student fees support many necessary and enriching services at Miami that allow students to take advantage of resources, sometimes at a less expensive rate than in the past. For example, this publication is made available to students through the help of student fees. Because of student aid, students only pay about $2 per year for 58 school-year issues and a summer issue of The Miami Student. In the late 19th century, students had to pay 15 cents for each issue. If students know their funds are not wasted and are spent on projects that benefit themselves and the Miami community, students will not have to second-guess the administration as much as they do now.