Committee reviews student fee concerns

By Ken Goze

As state agencies must cut back because of a tight economy, a group of NIU students, faculty and administrators struggled to determine the fee portion of student bills next year.

Anne Kaplan, chairman of NIU President John La Tourette’s Fee Study Committee, said this year’s committee handled the unpleasant job of reviewing fees well.

“No one is enthusiastic about increases in costs anywhere on the campus, but there are some difficult realities that must be faced,” she said.

The overall recommended increase, from $552 to $594 per year for full-time undergraduate students, is smaller than last year, when fees rose by about 11.5 percent.

Kaplan said most fee requests reflected a bare-bones amount needed to maintain programs in the face of rising costs and a projected drop in the number of chargeable credit hours next year.

NIU officials are projecting 487,000 chargeable credit hours next year, down from the current level of about 499,000.

The largest increase of 56 cents per hour for the Huskie Bus fee was requested to pay the costs of a new five-year contract with Huskie Line and the gradual replacement of aging buses with fully handicapped-accessible buses to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Increases in both the athletic and grants-in-aid fees were requested to offset rising costs of student grants such as increased tuition and room and board rates.

Student Association Treasurer Mike Holy cited the mandated student wage increase from $3.80 to $4.25 per hour as a reason for the requested activity fee increase.