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UNO tuition price holds steady, “fees” nearly double

Leo Castell, Staff

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A University of New Orleans student taking only 12 credit hours this semester will technically only be paying $3045.19 in tuition, yet he or she will receive a final bill of $4322, due to over $1000 being labeled as “fees.”

The difference of $1276.81 is made up of multiple charges, ranging from a building use fee of $48 to a Privateers spirit fee, which is $5 per credit hour. Compare this to the fall of 2012 where the price of tuition for the same number of hours was almost $500 less ($2582), and the fees a measly $343, as the building use fee and Privateers spirit fee did not exist. Just four years ago, a student could attend UNO for less than half the price of what the tuition is now.

 

Student response to these fees has been overwhelmingly negative. “Most of the fees paid are vague and sometimes have a ridiculous description, with no explanation as to their true purpose or why they have been increased this coming semester,” sophomore Clay Mistich said.

Tuition steadily rose until fall of last year where it has remained stagnant, but the fees have nearly quadrupled and now make up over 25 percent of the final fee bill. An email linking to an explanation of these fees is sent to each student upon being billed and can also be accessed from UNO’s website. Fees, such as the academic excellence fee ($10 per credit hour, up to $120), technology fee ($5 per credit hour, up to $75), and fuel recovery fee ($10 per credit hour), have been around since 2007 and have only slightly fluctuated in price since then. These fees are used to pay for everything from the library, to the computer lab, to the university’s energy bills.

The aforementioned Privateers spirit fee is among the newer charges, along with the student retention initiative fee ($15 per credit hour). The spirit fee is used to fund campus-life activities and sporting events, while the other supports academic advisement and “a new analytical tool that enhances degree completion.” Privateer bucks ($80) is a more recent fee that debuted in 2014 and may be what students are most familiar with. If you’re taking at least 12 hours worth of classes, then paying for this fee gives you money to spend on food that is attached to your student ID. Strangely, the fee this semester is $80, yet the explanation says it only grants you $75 to spend on food.

The largest of these fees also debuted in 2014 and is simply listed as “other mandatory fees.” Students taking 12 or more credit hours will be paying a maximum of $529.81 for these other fees, which fund everything from campus beautification to student health services. Despite presumably being a compilation of other fees, there is no explicit mention of what exactly makes up this overall fee, yet it will account for about half of the total fees paid by each student.

“I can understand something like a building use fee, but being charged for Privateer Spirit is just stupid,” senior Jessica Floyd said. “Shouldn’t most of this stuff already be covered by tuition? What does our tuition even cover if all this is separate?”

The rising fees are a particular sticking point for students like sophomore Juan Garcia that don’t receive any financial aid. “I always pay my tuition out of pocket, but it’s getting harder to do every semester.”

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The student news site of the University of New Orleans
UNO tuition price holds steady, “fees” nearly double