Correcting mistake would be costly

By Galvin Kennedy

If NIU were to correct the mistake of making The Northern Star fee non-refundable, it would cost more than the $40,800 the Star gets.

In an Aug. 21 letter to Student Association President Robert McCormack, NIU President John La Tourette stated making the fee refundable would cost more than the 97-cent fee could generate and require a re-evaluation of student aid packages.

“It (a correction) would cause all sorts of technical problems for the financial aid office that I would not know how to address. It would also cause lots of problems for the State Commission,” said Jerry Augsburger, NIU director of student financial aid.

President John La Tourette’s Fee Study Committee forgot to include Star on a list of refundable student fees. The list was given to La Tourette and ultimately approved by the Board of Regents which made the Star fee non-refundale.

The commission then uses this information to determine the amount of money to allocate each university.

Each spring, the Illinois Student Association Committee requests all Illinois state universities to submit a report describing the cost of attendence, including all student fees that are nonrefundable.

“So when ISAC compiled the cost of education at NIU, they included the Star fee as a mandatory cost and in turn used that total cost to determine how much money to give (NIU) students,” Augsburger said.

Whether the fee study committee will correct the error cannot not be determined yet. However, Ann Kaplan, executive assistant to the president, said it is unlikely anything will change this year.

La Tourette refused to comment on the matter.

“The President’s Fee Study Committee will not reconvene any time soon because we are missing some members,” Kaplan said.

Former Assistant Provost Anthony Fursaro, who chaired the fee study committee when the error was made, left NIU July 1 and has not been replaced.