Fee increase likely due to lack of funds

By Ken Goze

NIU’s student health fee might jump by nearly 18 percent, from $3.48 to $4.23 per credit hour, to provide for salary increases and dwindling cash reserves.

Dana Mills, associate director for University Health Services, said health service officials are asking for a 54-cent increase to $4.02 per hour to compensate for an expected $121,000 income decrease for fiscal year 1991.

An additional 21-cent hike for wages rounds out the total fee increase proposal. The President’s Fee Study Committee is responsible for salary increases under new Board of Regents recommendations, Mills said. The 21-cent hike translates into a 6 percent salary increase, she said.

Increased operating costs drained last year’s $100,000 reserve, leaving no extra funds for the upcoming fiscal year, Mills said. In addition, an expected 1.2 percent drop in next year’s enrollment will reduce income for all student fee-supported groups.

Mills said a fee increase also is needed to cover the costs of the new state immunization law, which requires all incoming freshmen to show proof of vaccination for measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), tetnus and diptheria.

Because of the new law, the health center saw a 147 percent increase in patient visits this year, a trend which Mills said is likely to continue.

Mills said the health service is trying to hold down the increase by raising prescription prices and charging a service fee for student-requested tests such as cholesterol screening.

Mills said the health service tries to set aside at least $100,000 in case of equipment failure or disease outbreaks, but added this is not always possible.