External Affairs Division

Regents Approve Changes To Student Fee Policy

Atlanta — January 12, 2010

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) today approved five major revisions to its mandatory student fee policy; changes that give clear direction of the purpose of such fees and how such fees are developed, approved and applied.

First, the regents inserted a statement on the philosophy behind student fees: “student fee revenues are to be used exclusively to support the institution’s mission to enrich the educational, institutional and cultural experience of students.”

The four additional revisions are:

  • Student-fee advisory committees should be comprised of at least four students to encourage broad participation in the fee process (the current policy required 50 percent student committee membership);
  • An institution’s five-year plan for each of its auxiliary-enterprise operations should provide for adequate reserves (associated with mandatory student fees) for the continued viability of the programs;
  • Board approval is required for any fee or charge that is mandatory for all full-time undergraduate students or all undergraduate students in a specific degree program. All other elective fees will continue to be approved by USG presidents; and
  • Specific course fees for supplementary materials shall be approved by USG presidents (this is a clarification of the definition of course fees).

“Student fees enrich the college experience for students by funding programs and services that help to build relationships between students and their institution,” Usha Ramachandran, vice chancellor for fiscal affairs, said in presenting the proposed mandatory fee revisions to the regents. “Mandatory fees also help our campuses meet the high expectations students have for certain levels of service.”

The revisions were prompted by an ongoing effort within the University System to review and update all Board policies. Other areas previously reviewed and updated include business and ethics policies.

Mandatory fees are fees charged to all students at an institution and which cover the cost of specific services provided for students that are outside the academic programs covered by tuition. For example, such fees cover student activities, technology, intercollegiate athletics programs, healthcare, parking and transportation, and new facilities. In Fiscal Year 2009, mandatory student fees across the USG totaled $280 million. Many of the fees cover the System’s auxiliary services, which must be self-supporting and cannot be funded through state appropriations.

All mandatory student fees go through an inclusive development, vetting and approval process, Ramachandran said. Such fees begin with an institutional student-fee committee, followed by a request for the fee from the institutional president to the regents’ staff. Following staff review, fees that pass muster are recommended for approval to the chancellor, who then brings them to the full board for regents’ approval. No mandatory fee can be charged without final regents’ approval.

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