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February 19, 2015

Trustees committee wants to set student fees

The Board of Trustees student affairs committee is seeking authority to approve student fee increases, rather than merely to recommend them to the full board, as is currently the case.

The recommendation will be presented at the Board of Trustees’ Feb. 27 meeting.

The committee is tasked with overseeing and guiding policy for nonacademic matters of student life. Among its duties is to review and recommend student wellness and health fees; student activities fees; computing and network services fees; security, safety and transportation fees; athletic and student recreation fees, and parking and transportation fees for full- and part-time students on the Pittsburgh and the regional campuses.

The move to streamline the approval process for mandatory student fees stems from the amounts and the infrequent, small changes to those fees. According to background documents distributed at the committee’s Feb. 9 meeting, “Annually the student affairs committee may receive requests for mandatory fee increases; however actual practice has shown that it may be five or more years between requests for a particular fee’s increase. Individual mandatory fees range from $20 to $350 per academic year. Except for a few exceptions, based on the length of time since the last increase and the specific use for the increase, mandatory fee increases typically range from $10 to $40 per academic year.”

The committee is recommending to the board that it be given authority to approve new mandatory fees and increases to such fees.

Because fee income is part of the University budget, the student affairs committee would report its actions to the board’s budget committee for inclusion in Pitt’s operating budget.

—Kimberly K. Barlow