By SUSAN JONES
Students on Pitt’s Oakland campus will pay $40 more per semester in the Security and Transportation Fee — the first raise since 2007 — after a vote by the Board of Trustees Student Affairs Committee on July 8.
The increase will take effect this fall, along with student activities and wellness fees returning to pre-pandemic levels.
In total, full-time undergraduate students on the Pittsburgh campus will be paying $110 more in fees this fall than in fall 2020. The increase varies for the regional campuses and for graduate and professional students.
The increase in the Security and Transportation Fee from $90 to $130 is designed to help offset an annual deficit in transportation costs of around $2.5 million, which Pitt has incurred over the past five years (excluding the impacts of COVID-19), said Kenyon Bonner, dean of students. The transportation fee covers free rides for students and employees on Port Authority buses and the operation of campus shuttles.
In addition, Business and Auxiliary Services requested an increase in hard funding of $852,000 for a total of $2.4 million, through the chief financial officer’s annual Responsibility Center Resource Proposal process, to support employee ridership based on actual ridership data. Analysis was performed to identify the increase required in the student fee — assuming the hard funding increase is approved — in order to break even.
While the increase will offset the annual losses, it will not impact the $16.5 million deficit that Pitt has already accrued.
The Port Authority also has notified the University that the per-ride cost for Pitt employees and students will be increased for the first time in nearly six years, contributing to even higher expected future deficits. In June, a Port Authority committee recommended the full board approve a 25 cent increase per trip for ConnectCard users to $2.75, the same currently paid by cash customers.
The activities fees for the Oakland and regional campuses were decreased by 20 percent for the 2020-21 school term because of the limited number of in-person activities possible during the pandemic.
The committee previously voted to restore those increases starting in fall 2021 and implement a wellness fee increase on the Oakland campus that was approved in 2019 but delayed because of the pandemic.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 724-244-4042.
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