Editorial: Graduate student fee increase makes sense

In 2004, the graduate student fee was raised from $1 to $2.

The fee, which the Graduate Student Advisory Council uses to put on events such as the Graduate Exposition and social events for graduate students, is significantly less than at other universities.

At a national conference for graduate students, other schools laughed after hearing the amount of the fee.

The University of Cincinnati has a graduate student fee of $40, and Western Michigan University has a $21 fee.

As fee requests were submitted to the Student Affairs Office, the advisory council asked to raise the fee to $10 — a more than significant fee hike.

While declining such a large fee increase, the Student Affairs Office suggested to submit a fee increase proposal for a $1. Upon resubmitting the request, the advisory council was asked to lower the price to 50 cents.

While a 25 percent increase to the fee may seem like a significant increase, it will not help the advisory council with its goals.

Currently, graduate students only pay 20 cents per credit hour until they register for 10 credits.

Rodney Ranes, director of graduate admissions and adviser for the advisory council, said more than half of the graduate students only enroll on a part-time basis.

A $2 fee collected from the more than 1,700 graduate students is small for the programming that the advisory council tries to accomplish.

The fee also allows representation at the Regional and National Association of Graduate and Professional Student Conference.

Instead of having to borrow from the graduate school, the advisory council could put on programs and events and avoid asking for money.

Fee increases approved by the university Board of Trustees include raising the Textbook Rental fee from $8.95 to $9.95 per credit hour for construction of the new Textbook Rental building.

The University Union Operating Fee was also increased by $2.33 to $80.03. The increase was requested for student wages, utilities, building enhancements and deferred maintenance.

With the country enduring a recession, one can hope upcoming fee increases would remain minimal, but that will only be seen as the semester progresses.

The advisory council is not going to get an increase it sees as suitable, but if it holds on, it can request another fee increase that would help it serve graduate students.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at [email protected]