Student fee increases announced at Truth in Tuition meeting

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 Student fee increases for the 2013-14 school year will be primarily devoted to freshmen retention programs and new student center funds.

A proposed 3.7 percent increase, or $11.50, may be added to student fees. 

Dixie State University Student Association President Brody Mikesell, a senior integrated studies major from Henefer, unveiled next year’s student fee allocation at the Truth in Tuition presentation on Feb. 12. 

Before showing the proposed student fees, Mikesell presented challenges the Student Fee Allocation Committee face.

Mikesell said because the process continues to change, old issues arise, and the committee overseeing student fund allocation must find new solutions. 

Using technology and communication, these problems are combated.

Programs no longer in need of money were passed on; some allocation had insufficient documentation. Mikesell referenced an allocation report that only had three lines of information.    

Instances like this called for a digital record of documents, prepared by Jordon Sharp, director of student involvement and leadership.

“This won’t happen in the future,” Mikesell said. “If it does, we can [solve the problem] early because they have to submit this report online.”

When the DSU Student Fund Allocation Committee members thumb through documents to appropriate funds, they will know when fees were established and the expiration dates. 

Mikesell said as tuition increases, student fees must too, and failure to raise fees will only result in drastic hikes soon.   

Tuition rates weren’t mentioned in the meeting.

“We need to prepare for the future, and so if we don’t raise student fees this year, there’s a very, very high likelihood that in a few years the raises we didn’t do this year will have to be done,” he said.

The now-defunct Banner program fund allocation was transferred to fund a new student center. According to a DSUSA poll from earlier this year, students desire school spirit at events more than anything, and DSU athletics will receive a higher portion of student fee money next year.

One program, though, may prove controversial: Road to Success. Mikesell said student fees aren’t typically used this way, but a large problem must be addressed.

DSU has the lowest freshman retention in Utah, and Mikesell said the Road to Success program assigns DSU students with mentors. Each mentor will work with about 10 students classified as at-risk students whose backgrounds make them likelier to drop-out of college.  The Portland State program that Road to Success is designed after had a 96 percent retention rate.

“We feel this is a huge benefit,” Mikesell said. “Retention is one of the biggest problems at Dixie State [University].”

Funding for Road to Success lasts one year, and its success determines whether the administration and state will continue funding the program.

Other student fee increases include $1 for radio and broadcast, $2.25 for institutional computers, and 25 cents for defibrillators. 

The new increase pushes student fees to $320.50 per semester.