By John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer
University of Akron students will pay more for room, board and riding the ''Roo Express'' beginning this summer.
The UA board of trustees Wednesday approved a myriad of increases in fees for students.
• On-campus housing costs will increase 6 percent.
• Meal plans will go up an average of 3.5 percent.
• The transportation fee for full-time students will go from $115 a semester to $150 about a 30-percent jump.
• Students convicted by the university's student judicial system of violating the Student Code of Conduct may now have to pay fines ranging from $50 for a first offense for alcohol possession to $300 for a third offense of drug possession.
The hikes were included in the university's $376 million general fund budget for next year approved by UA trustees on Wednesday.
The budget also sets aside a pool of money equivalent to a 2-percent raise for university employees, but the university is still determining how that pool will be distributed.
Last month, trustees agreed to hike tuition and general fees by 3.5 percent the maximum increase permitted by the state for the current school year and the next one. Tuition and fees for in-state, full-time undergraduates will increase from $8,215 to $8,502. The cap on fees applies only to a fee that every student, regardless of credit hours, pays.
The transportation fee applies to students who carry more than five credit hours, and not all students use on-campus housing or meal plans. Those fees are not capped.
The cap doesn't apply to graduate studies, either, so the UA law school tuition will go up 6 percent.
Annual law school tuition and fees will go from $13,782 to $14,600. UA expects to lose $2.7 million in aid from the state, despite a projected 4 percent enrollment increase.
This means students will have to pick up 67 percent of the cost of their tuition and general fees next year. Students contributed 45 percent in 2001, according to acting Chief Financial Officer Scott Borgemenke.
Restrictions on fees do not apply to room, board and transportation, which the university considers auxiliary services that should pay for themselves.
''That's what they needed to continue their operations as is with current service levels,'' Borgemenke said.
The 30-percent increase in the transportation fee will mostly offset the annual debt service about $1.9 million on the new Exchange Street Parking Deck. The fee allows students unlimited access to the Roo Express Shuttle Service and a parking pass, if they ask for one.
Housing prices are going up to pay for the new Spicer Residence Hall and its debt service, as well as ''critical deferred maintenance issues, particularly with the Quaker Square residence and hotel complex,'' according to Borgemenke.
Room rates at the least expensive residence halls will go from $5,499 a year to $5,830 a year.
Increases to meal plans offset inflation in food and labor costs and the increase in debt service on Quaker Square.
The cheapest one, a 10-meal traditional plan, will go from $1,374 to $1,440 a semester, a 4.8 percent increase.
The new fine schedule for violations of the Student Conduct Code charges a $25 administrative fee for a ''finding of responsibility/informal warning'' if an agreement is reached before a formal hearing that a student violated the code; $50 if it's reached later in the process.
Referral to a workshop called Discussing Our Choices will cost a student $50.
The fine for violent or threatening behavior is $150, and a weapons violation will cost $200.
''These are fees that are allowed to be waived through the judicial process,'' Borgemenke said. ''We've never charged before. About half the universities, I'm told, have one of these types of structures, about half do not.''
John Higgins can be reached at 330-996-3792 or email@example.com. Read the education blog at http://education.ohio.com/.
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