It seems everything costs more at the University of Colorado. In
efforts to help fund for future capital construction, the student
government council approved nearly doubling students’ fees,
according to the Denver Post.
The state legislature cannot afford to supersize a fast-food
meal, let alone funding for future building projects, which leaves
schools to find funds elsewhere. And with no sign of the state’s
wallet getting any fatter, it seems student fees are going to be
the take a penny tray (not to be confused with the Jerry’s Kids
jar) when it comes to universities hunting much-needed dollars.
Historically, the state legislature funded capital construction
at public universities. but historically the state had money to pay
its bills, so now schools like CU and CSU are left in a bind.
Schools are restricted in the amount they can raise tuition
because of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, so either universities
halt present construction plans or they look for other avenues of
raising funds – such as student fees.
The situation at CU is the administration recognized it didn’t
have the funds to pay for an expense – future building projects in
this case – so it turned to the student government to implement and
approve a new student fee.
I can almost recall an incident at CSU where the administration
pulled the student government’s arm to create a new student fee to
fund something it couldn’t afford … what was it, it’s on the tip
of my tongue – that’s right, the new university technology fee.
Shady was how student legislative council President Laura
Reinsch described to the Post the school’s administrators, who
lobbied the increase to the student government.
“The administration fast-tracked this at a time students are
studying for finals,” said CU Regent Cindy Carlisle to the Post.
“…I have a problem with 18 people making a decision of this
magnitude for the whole student body for years to come.”
Cunning devils, surely the trustworthy administration at CSU
wouldn’t pull a stunt like that, or would they?
Students might remember last year when the CSU administration
and the Student Fee Review Board slipped in the university
technology fee when no one was looking: at the end of the year when
students’ attention was focused on other matters, such as staying
afloat of all the projects, assignments and term papers.
Is it fair for the administration to use student fees as its
ATM, using fees when it needs funds for services, programs and
facilities that it no longer can provide? No, but as Associated
Students of CSU President-elect Katie Clausen said, it’s not fair
to students to have sub-par services, programs or facilities. CU’s
law school faced losing its accreditation if it didn’t upgrade the
law school buildings. Which is less fair – having students pay more
for items the state or administration paid for in the past or have
CU lose its law school, leaving aspiring lawyers looking for a new
school? CSU’s new residence hall is being funded by self-generated
money from the residence-hall system.
It’s a value question students have to ask themselves, Clausen
“General capital construction, with economy the way it is now,
funding has to come through private donations and student dollars –
if students value that, then they need to buckle up the dollars,”
She said it’s not like universities are laying down marble
floors … they are doing to bare minimum to keep buildings
The Board of Governors of the CSU System met Wednesday to
discuss creating yet another new student fee, a facility fee.
Clausen said the fee is in the discussion phase, but unless the
budget situation smoothes out a bit, this fee could well become
I don’t have a solution. I want to go to the CSU that I saw in
brochures and not the school with broken chairs that I see in
classrooms, but I don’t want the administration to play the
“we-don’t-have-any-money-so-we-need-to-add-student-fees” card every
It’s a struggle between the value of our money and the value of
our education. I wish I had a better ending for this column, but
I’m in a rush to sell back my textbooks.
Chris is a senior majoring in history and journalism. He wishes
everyone good luck during finals week. He will be at home watching
“Wings” reruns since he was fortunate enough not to have