$200 fee would confirm UF freshmen enrollment
By Kimberly Anne Lopez
Alligator Staff Writer
Students will incur a 63-cent increase a credit hour next year, but incoming students may be hit the hardest with a $200 admissions fee.
In a UF Board of Trustees meeting Saturday, UF President Charles Young and Provost David Colburn proposed to the Board a $200 fee be assessed to accepted students who wish to confirm their attendance to UF. The fee is an effort to defray admission process costs and better estimate the size of the freshman class.
Half of the fee would be applied toward the student's second semester tuition and the remaining $100 would help fund the additional staffing implemented during the admissions process, such as 50 high school teachers, Colburn said.
The $200 from those who choose to not attend UF would go toward admissions and student services. The fee would be waived for students in need of financial aid.
"At that point [in the admissions process] we have a good understanding of the student's needs," Colburn said, adding the fee would be due May 1.
Many universities in the nation apply such an admissions fee, but UF would be the first in Florida with Florida State University and the University of Central Florida showing interest in implementing the same fee.
None of the universities have seen an impact on diversity from the fee, Colburn said, addressing the concerns of Trustee Roland Daniels who feared the fee might turn minority students away.
Already this year, UF has seen a 30 percent increase in applications including 920 - a 300 application increase - in black student applications. Hispanic applicants have nearly doubled with 1,500 applications, Colburn said.
UF is looking to accept 11,500 students from an estimated application pool of 23,000 to enroll a freshman class of 6,500. Of those accepted, about 20 percent will put down the $200 admissions fee, he said.
If trustees approve the fee at their December meeting, UF will garner the support of FSU in lobbying during the Legislature's regular January session.
The Board also approved a 53-cent increase to the current $6.79 Student Health Care fees and a 10-cent increase to the Activity and Service fees.
The increase to $7.32 for the student health care fee will fund a half-time psychiatrist for the mental health clinic, a full-time dietician and a lifestyle appraisal center in the Southwest Recreation Center.
A & S fees fund Student Government sponsored organizations and generally increases annually, said Jim Scott, UF vice president for Student Affairs.
Also on Saturday, trustees recognized the need to create strong governmental relations to protect funding and government support for higher education despite an expected budget cut of 3.1 percent - a $21.2 million loss for UF.
"It's a period of lack of final decisions," Trustee chairman Marshall Criser said. "Our leadership is working out some key issues."
Final decisions concerning the budget and the powers of the trustees may not be completely clear by statute until the January Legislative session closes, he said.
In meetings today and Tuesday, the Florida Board of Education will accept or deny recommendations from the School Code Rewrite Workgroup to provide university boards flexibility in setting tuition and fees and provide for tuition and fee waivers. If approved by the Board, the recommendations will be passed to the Legislature to become statute.
"You have to follow the statute," Criser said at the meeting. "If we're going to man these universities we must have authority to make those decisions. We want all the latitude we can get to be successful."
NOTES FROM THE WRITER
This story evolved from covering a UF Board of Trustees meeting. The discussed $200 admission fee was passed in December and called for another story of the same nature.
Story was written while covering the UF administration beat.
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