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Thursday, February 29, 2024

It's that time of year again - the time when the UF Board of Trustees gets together to decide how it can make life harder for UF students, usually financially.

Last week's meetings were no exception.

First on the list: fees. Lots of them. UF will institute an equipment fee for upkeep of things including lab equipment and musical instruments, but it's unknown how much it will be yet.

And you will face a ,10 transcript fee every time you ask for one - and with applying for scholarships, graduate schools and academic programs, that could add up. This puts poorer students at a disadvantage. Already facing application fees, now they'll have to tack on an extra 10 bucks per transcript.

Call us crazy, but we're pretty sure some blue paper, some black ink and that pretty rainbow-colored stamp don't come anywhere close to ,10. Students should still get a few freebies. Or UF could charge much less per transcript - say, ,3 - and still make a pretty penny. We know UF has to make money somehow. We just don't think it should be in such blatantly price-gouging ways.

The most controversial fee is a proposed online fee, which would be a ,2-per-credit charge for every credit that uses the e-Learning system, no matter if the course is 100 percent online or if all you do is turn in homework assignments or download lecture notes. Nearly everyone takes classes with some sort of online component, so that money could compound pretty quickly.

Thankfully, a decision on this fee has been postponed. Student Body President Ryan Moseley, who is on the board, said this fee is unfair, and we agree wholeheartedly. Since we'll be looking at a 5-percent-per-credit technology fee next semester, an online fee seems redundant. We can understand some sort of fee for distance-learning students who take all their classes online.

Without the online courses, could you imagine how hard it would be for the lucky professor who would get to grade thousands of assignments every week? We didn't choose to take online courses; we were forced into them. The costs of the courses should already be covered by tuition - especially since, a computer program often grades things instead of a person.

But while students are up to their ears in fees, UF President Bernie Machen received a huge reward from the board: ,300,000 in "performance bonuses."

We're not exactly sure what that means, but we are a little confused. As the board laments budget cuts and forces fees on us common students, Bernie gets a massive bonus. Aren't bonuses usually reserved for after accomplishing large goals? Maybe a goal such as fixing some of UF's budget woes?

Hmm. It's gonna take 30,000 transcripts to pay that one off.

Trustee Al Warrington wasn't so quick to agree Bernie's performance merited such a bonus. He was the only trustee to nay the bonus - and we can't help but point out that means Moseley approved it.

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Machen's already the sixth-highest paid public university president in the country, so that's one top-10 list he doesn't have to worry about cracking.

The UF Foundation is responsible for putting the money in Bernie's bank account, but maybe it should be more concerned with supporting, oh, we don't know … UF?

We know the foundation does a lot for UF. But it also does way too much for Bernie.

Thanks again, trustees, for brightening up students' lives just in time for the holidays.

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