Student fees set to increase $15 total in fall

For the 2017-2018 academic year, the student fees for the health center, athletic department, on-campus transportation and campus technology will be increasing.

These fees are paid by Oswego State undergraduate students every semester to cover costs associated with various services provided by the campus.

These four fees together are known as broad-based fees.

The health fee, which will increase by $5 per semester, covers services provided to students by Mary Walker Health Center.

The athletic fee, increasing by $4.50 per semester next year, covers some of the costs associated with the 24 intercollegiate sport teams supported by Oswego State, as well as costs accrued when hosting sporting events.

The transportation fee, increasing by $1 per semester, pays for the Blue Route, which serves the main Oswego State campus, and the Green Route, which takes students from the campus center to Rice Creek Field Station and Laker Hall.

The technology fee, increasing by $4.50 per semester, pays for the technology used by the campus, including Banner and MyOswego services.

The combined increase for all four fees will be $15 dollars per semester.

These fees are charged to students regardless of residency. The transportation fee and health center fee are only charged to students taking classes on the main Oswego State campus.

These fees are integral to the financial stability of the departments that benefit from them.

“Our operational budget is almost completely dependent upon the student athletic fee money,” said Susan Viscomi, Director of Athletics for Oswego State.

The athletic department uses the funds from the student fee to cover not only the costs associated with the intercollegiate athletic teams, but also the costs of student employment from games hosted on campus.

According to the Oswego State website, the athletic fee does not fund club sports or the fitness centers and is not a “user fee.” This means that it is not solely intended for those who take advantage of the sports facilities and events that the fee supports.

Viscomi said the athletic fee has increased annually since she started in the position of director four years ago.

The additional revenue from the $5 increase to the semester health fee will go to the employment of an additional mental health counselor and an additional nurse, according to Angela Brown, director of the health center.

The health center has recently seen high demand for mental health counseling and currently is scheduling patients for appointments three weeks away, over the week of March 27.

“A new full-time position will increase capacity and hopefully offer us some additional creative solutions to meeting students’ mental health needs through new group offerings,” said Katherine Wolfe-Lyga, the director of the Counseling Services Center at Mary Walker Health Center.

These fees can be increased by a maximum of two percent from their amounts the previous academic year, which amounts to a total of $30 for this coming year. This maximum increase is set by the Higher Education Price Index, a national figure that tracks the effects of inflation on higher education.

“It makes sense, if [the increase] is that low per semester, that’s well below the national average inflation rate,” said Liam Weaver, an Oswego State sophomore.

The current annual inflation rate is two and a half percent, according to statbureau.org.

The directors of the departments that collect these fees hold an annual forum to discuss the reasons behind the increase and the fees in general. These forums are typically held the week before spring break.

These forums have not had a large turnout of students, however. No students showed up to the forum held Thursday, about the fees for the upcoming academic year.

“[Student] attendance is generally very low,” said Sean Moriarty, Chief Technology Officer for Campus Technology Services.