o-studentfees

This semester I had to pay $646 in student fees, as did all Huskers. While going through my loan information and my bill breakdown, I wondered what I am actually paying for.

With some sleuthing, I came across the student fee allocations website. ASUN Student Government provides a list that breaks down every individual student fee. 

Some student fees seemed obviously beneficial, such as the University Health Center, transit services and the Daily Nebraskan. Other fees, such as the campus recreation facility, made me question why students are required to support certain facilities through student fees.

The university should be more transparent about the specific tuition costs, and students should have the choice to opt out of inessential student fees. 

Students are allowed to request a refund for a restricted list of student fees (ASUN Student Government, Daily Nebraskan, Lied Center Discounts). This list does not include facilities with a much higher student fee cost, like the campus rec center or Counseling and Psychological Services.

The recreation center costs $207.15 per student per semester. Over the course of four years, each student spends around $1,657.20 in total for the recreation center alone. This cost does not include classes, specific programs and memberships inside of the recreation center. 

As a student that is disinterested in the recreation center and its amenities, I do not want to pay for it in my student fees. I don’t think any student should be required to pay for its upkeep. 

Students have a myriad of reasons why they cannot or will not use the rec center including medical reasons and general disinterest, so they should have the option to opt out of this fee.

In the grand scheme of money and student loan debt, $1,657.20 is a significant amount of money for many individuals. 

If students were allowed to opt out of paying this fee, it may become more costly for students who would pay to use the rec center; this notion is explored on the student fee allocation website. “[Student fees] provide programs, services and facilities designed to make the institution a community where most students' interests and needs can be met.” While this view is understandable, it is unreasonable to expect all students to pay for the pleasure of most students. Furthermore, there is no provided evidence that most students want to use the rec.

Another fee that I found unusual was the remote classes fee. For each distance class, it costs roughly $100 more than an in-person class. This doesn’t make much sense since there is no obvious increased costs, especially since there wouldn’t be the cost of utilities of being in a classroom. 

When I reached out to Husker Hub, the group that handles questions about billing, it was speculated that it was for Zoom, Canvas, lockdown browsers and other online resources. I did not receive a concrete reason as to why there is an extra charge. 

The deeper I looked into my student bill, the more I realized that the extra $100 being used for online resources did not have a reason for why it is necessary. According to my own tuition bill, and the bill of a few others, each Husker pays $777 for online resources, so it would not make sense for the extra $100 to be used for something students have already paid into. 

While I was able to find most of the information I was looking for through the student fees allocation website, I could not find tuition breakdowns as easily. The breakdown of these fees also aren’t forthcomingly presented in the student billing. In the future, the in-depth student fee breakdown should be placed on each billing statement, so that each Husker can have an understanding of what they are paying for.

Additionally, students should not be obligated to pay for something that they may not have the ability to use, such as the recreation center.

Overall, students should be aware of and curious about their student fees and billings. I am not advocating for abolition of all student fees, as they are necessary for many valuable on-campus resources, but I believe they should be more limited and easily accessible to each student. 

Alexia Woodall is a sophomore secondary education, secondary English and journalism major. Reach her at alexiawoodall@dailynebraskan.com.