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Monday, May 27, 2024

Students will likely pay nearly the same in fees for the Summer, despite classes moving online and a proposed change in student fees. 

The proposed change in student fees for the Summer A, B and C 2020 terms could reduce the total fees per credit hour by only eight cents. 

With the proposed changes, students could be paying $63.39 per credit hour or $380.34 for the semester. Last summer, students taking six credit hours paid $63.47 per credit hour or $380.82 for the semester.

Several fees — including the activity and service, health and transportation fees — were proposed to be reduced and were approved by Joe Glover, UF provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and UF President Kent Fuchs on March 30. There would be no athletic fee, but a distance learning fee would be added.

The activity and service fee funds gyms and recreational areas, like Southwest Recreation Center. The health fee covers access to the Student Health Care Center and counseling services. The transportation fee funds RTS bus systems, and the athletic fee funds sports games.

The change in fees was approved by Glover and Fuchs on March 30. To be fully approved, the proposal will be heard by the UF Board of Trustees on or after April 25, W. Andrew McCollough, the UF associate provost for teaching and technology, said.

McCollough said the proposed change is due to the shift to remote learning, and Fuchs encouraging students to return to their hometowns twice. These fee reductions are on what are considered to be access fees, which provide students access to the university. Facilities like student recreation centers are closed, and RTS buses will run less routes.

“The general rationalization was, with the students gone, it was no longer necessary for them to pay for access to services that will not be where they are,” McCollough said.

The proposed reduction includes reducing the Activity and Service Fee from $19.06 to $14.49, the Student Health Fee from $15.81 to $6.64, the Transportation Fee from $9.44 to $5.00 and completely getting rid of the $1.90 Athletic Fee, according to the proposal.

The Distance Learning Fee would not be new, McCollough said. Previously, if an on-campus student was taking an online class, they would pay a fee of $23 per credit hour for the class. However, now that all classes are online, the Distance Learning Fee would be added into the student fee package, which is charged per a credit hour, McCollough said.

This will cover the cost of proctoring services, like ProctorU and Honorlock, as well as production costs of putting face-to-face classes online, McCollough said. Production costs include adding more academic support such as teaching assistants, faculty training and instructional design experts.

“The Provost said to me that there would be no tolerance for additional student fees because we’re requiring the students to go online,” McCollough said. “So the question was, with that constraint, how could we possibly cover the costs associated with moving courses from face-to-face to online?”

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McCollough said he is not sure how long the new fees will stay in place.

“We will revisit the whole structure of the fees and we may go back to the way it was, back in what is now called normal times, but I don't know,” he said.

UF will also allocate $15,523,206 to students as emergency financial aid out of the $31,046,411 it will receive from the U.S. Department of Education. The federal government did not issue precise guidance on its use. Last week, the department announced that higher education institutions would receive stimulus money as part of the recently passed CARES Act.

The CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, allocated $30.7 billion to K-12 schools and higher education institutions for “education stabilization.” Of the almost $14 billion allocated to higher-learning institutions, colleges and universities will receive about $12.5 billion. The remaining funds will go to smaller colleges and minority-serving institutions, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

UF spokesperson Steve Orlando said UF will receive the money sometime this week. The university is currently working on a plan on how to disperse the $15.5 million to students. He expects the plan to be done in the next week. 

Christian Ortega contributed to this report. 

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Meghan McGlone

Meghan McGlone is a UF junior majoring in journalism and English, and this year she’s the City and County Commission reporter. In past years, she’s served as the University Editor, the Student Government reporter, and other positions. Her favorite past time is eating gummy worms and reading a good book.

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