Proposal calls for fee increase

By Ken Goze

Next year’s student fee package moved closer to approval and a yearlong effort to root out administrative job duplication took its first solid step at Wednesday’s Board of Regents committee meetings.

The Regents Finance and Facilities Committee, meeting at Sangamon State University, recommended approval of an NIU fee package that would be one of the smallest increases in recent years.

The proposal calls for a hike in three fees and a 3 percent room and board increase. The activity fee, which supports the Student Association, would increase from $48.48 to $52.80 per year and the cost for sending official transcripts would jump from $3.50 to $5. The health insurance fee would actually drop from $250.48 to $243.26 per year.

Residence hall rates would rise from $2,841 to $2,926. However, fees which historically increase every year, such as fees for buses and athletics, will remain flat.

NIU President John La Tourette hailed the small fee increase as an example of NIU’s ability to slim down in a tight economy. “We worked very hard to keep fees down this year,” La Tourette said.

The Personnel and Operations Committee followed up the preliminary search for outside consultants to help ferret out duplication between the three Regency universities and the Chancellor’s Office. A list of three accounting firms to do the work was presented by a Regents task force. Regent Milton McClure, a task force member, said the group unanimously recommended using the Bonner Group, which charges a fee of $35,000, the lowest of the three firms.

Regent Sylvia Nichols and the three university presidents expressed concern over splitting the cost because of tight budgets. Regent Joe Ebbesen, who made the initial request almost a year ago, said the board needs to stop putting off the issue. “We can dance with this for years, but this is a simple question,” he said.