During forums scheduled for Nov. 14 and 16, a university committee will present a tentative recommendation to split the student services fee into three separate charges–athletics, transportation and student activities–and increase designated tuition.
The proposal recommends an athletics fee of $13.65 per credit hour capped at 12 credit hours; a transportation fee of $5 per credit hour capped at 12 credit hours; and a Student Services fee of $7 per credit hour capped at 12 credit hours.
Rick Anderson, UTRGV Finance and Administration executive vice president, told The Rider the proposal for the athletics fee is based on its current allocation from the Student Services fee.
“There’s no increase or decrease in that,” Anderson said. “It’s just based on where it’s at right now.”
For the transportation fee, he said the current allocation is 97 cents per credit hour.
“Based on what capacity we’ve had this year, in terms of additional buses and things like that, and what we’re are coming along in December and what we would need to do if we were to make the current contracted service permanent, in addition to the buses and stuff, that would be the operating cost, not the capital cost, just the operations of higher level of service and frequency of service,” Anderson said.
The current allocation for student activities is $6.21 per credit hour. That amount helps fund various activities that are separate from academic functions and that directly benefit students. The fee helps support various programs and departments across the university that serve students.
Asked why the proposed charge for the student services fee is smaller than the proposed athletics fee even though it is for all students, Anderson replied: “I don’t have all the history of all of that. That’s just how it’s evolved over time.”
Currently, UTRGV students pay a Student Services fee of $249.96 per long semester, which is $20.83 per credit hour capped at 12 credit hours.
In a meeting last Tuesday, the Tuition and Fee Steering Committee reviewed its proposal as it prepared for this week’s forums.
Anderson said the transportation and athletics fees would require a student referendum and legislative statute if approved by the University of Texas System board of regents.
A referendum is a vote conducted to determine student support for a measure or a new mandatory fee. It is a process that enables any group to place an issue directly onto a public ballot for approval or rejection.
Any new mandatory student fee must be approved by a majority of voting students and 20 percent of the registered student population must vote. Without student approval, the fee cannot be assessed.
If the new fees are approved by students, the proposal would be presented before the Texas Legislature, which is scheduled to meet in January 2019.
None of the proposed fees would affect students currently enrolled at UTRGV, only those entering in Fall 2019.
Resident tuition for full-time undergraduate students who enrolled in Fall 2017 is $3,059.60 and $2,775.20 for full-time graduate students.
For Fall 2017 full-time undergraduate students, the total academic cost (TAC) is $3,793.76 and $3,359.57 for full-time graduate students.
The Rider asked Anderson what the proposed increase in designated tuition and total academic cost would be, but as of press time Friday, he had not provided the information.