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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Equipment-use fees that UF piloted this semester in four colleges will be made available across the university this fall as part of a larger effort to generate funds in light of major budget cuts.

The fee allows UF colleges and departments to charge students per credit hour for "significant equipment" in a course, which could include microscopes, musical instruments and video equipment, as long as the college shows records proving the equipment is used.

The specific amounts of the fees depend on the equipment covered. The charges will include costs for repair, replacement and insurance for class equipment and will only apply to undergraduate students.

Each college must fill out an application form before implementing a fee. College deans will have authority to lower proposed fees, and the Office of the Provost must approve each amount.

In a meeting with Alligator reporters on Thursday, UF President Bernie Machen said funds generated through fees would likely become an important resource for UF to get back in the black following an anticipated blow to its budget.

"It's something we're going to see more of," Machen said. "I'm no longer going to sit around and wait for the state."

Machen said he predicts UF will have to cut about $50 million from its budget next year. The exact amount will be released at the end of the state Legislature's spring session.

UF has already begun to enact similar student charges not covered by tuition.

UF implemented a transcript fee this semester, charging $6 per transcript for current students and $12 for students who are no longer registered at UF. Machen said that fee should generate up to $1 million every year.

Because the specific amounts of equipment fees depend on each college's proposals, it is not yet known how much money they will bring in.

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