Students stress over possible added lab fees, tuition increases

Nursing students like Rose Anderson may be facing increased fees not only on labs but also required clinical hours.

Students were shook April 9 when notified at a ASUCC board meeting that the Administration is attempting to raise tuition as well as tack on a $100 fee on all lecture/labs, labs, clinicals and practicums.

The effects of this increase in costs will be far-reaching, as every program at UCC requires a lab of some sort. The automotive program, for instance, requires 30 labs before graduation. That is an extra $3,000 piled on top of their tools and tuition expenses already in place. Toni Nehl is working on her prerequisites for the nursing program and displayed serious concern. “If this will be adding to the expense of the nursing program, then I will be applying at other schools.”

The students attending the meeting asked to see a breakdown of the budget, but their request was flat out denied. Attendants did learn that the proceeds from such added expenses will be going into the General Fund and the Administrative Restricted Fund.

So long as the extra money will be going towards lab materials, students are on board. But, the accounts the money will be deposited into makes students suspect otherwise. Rachel Guzman, working towards her AS in Human Services, wants to know more about these funds before making her final decision on the matter.

Forest Management major Travis Smith, who has two more years of labs, found it to be an odd coincidence that the administration is attempting to raise fees while also instating three new sports teams. A sports fan himself, Smith believes that the community is more than willing to donate and support UCC athletics. “I want to make sure they’re putting those funds to what they’re charging too,” Smith said. Smith receives financial aid, but most of his money goes towards raising his son.

Many UCC students are struggling to support their family and their education simultaneously. Many are also working multiple part time jobs, like Tiffany Smith in the AAOT program. She has taken out student loans on top of her financial aid but seemed to believe that her Pell Grant would cover the raised fees. When notified that the Pell Grant would only be raised $175, she was shocked. “I think its all a juggling act,” Smith said. “I am glad that the higher ups are telling us now, but I don’t think there’s much students can do about it.”

Freshman Erika Dickey was also alarmed. Financial aid covers her education costs for now, but she is worried about next year having not earned as many scholarships and especially because she too is working towards the nursing program. Dickey was on the same page with Nehl: If they will raise costs of the nursing program, then they would look to other school.

Even students in the nontechnical programs are showing concern. Talon Dever is a Natural Resources major and was just as upset when he heard of the increase in cost. Being aware of what funds the money would be going into, he did not feel like this would be benefiting his education at all. “I feel like I pay a lot of money to this and I don’t get as much out of it. If they will raise fees, I’d like to see it go towards classes.”

Josie Orsingher feels similarly. Being a student that pays out of pocket, she was quite passionate about the matter. She will be graduating from the Dental Assisting program this June but has been planning on staying at UCC to finish her AAOT requirements. “In the labs I’ve taken we don’t use a lot of materials anyway. Many of the materials are expired regardless of the fee [already in place]. I don’t believe this will go towards lab materials.” Orsingher plans on returning to UCC but has been deterred from taking any labs.

The final decision on increased fees has been tabled until the Board Meeting May 9. This meeting is open to the public. •