The Student Fee Advisory Committee held an annual Student Fee Forum in the lecture hall of the Meyerhoff Chemistry building on Wednesday during free hour to engage students in a review of the mandatory fees that every student has to pay in addition to tuition.
These fees are broken into seven categories: athletics, technology, university commons, transportation, auxiliary facilities, student activities (for undergraduate students) and graduate programs (for graduate students). Each fee category is represented by a fee steward.
According to Charlene Uhl, Director of Budget and Resource Analysis, the fee stewards, “represent the different parts of the campus that rely on fee income to support their operations.”
“The fee stewards for the two student government associations are students. The other fee stewards are employees of the university,” Uhl said.
So what is the Student Fee Advisory Committee? It is a small committee made up of eight current students.
Each student represents different areas of the campus: Graduate Association, transfer students, residential students, out-of-state students, commuters/transfer students, student-athletes and Student Government Association.
Student Affairs identifies different students to represent most of these areas annually. The Student Government Association nominates the Student Government Association representative and the Graduate Association does the same for the Graduate Association representative.
When asked about the Committee’s function, Uhl replied, “The committee is responsible for getting an understanding of any proposed fee increases to what are called ‘mandatory’ fees, i.e., all enrolled students pay these fees.”
“The committee is briefed by the different fee stewards. This is usually done at a half-day meeting where all the fee stewards meet with the committee and provide an overview of what their fee supports and why they are proposing a fee increase,” said Uhl.
“The committee can question the fee stewards at the meeting and request additional information. After that, the committee helps coordinate the annual Student Fee Forum,” she continued.
During the forum, the members of the committee teamed up with the fee stewards to review the proposed increases of each mandatory fee with the students who attended. The students were encouraged to ask questions in order to get a full understanding of each proposal.
Uhl also shared some good news: UMBC students have the power to change the proposals if they are inconvenient.
“The committee presents its recommendations to Lynne Schaefer, President for Administration and Finance. These recommendations are seriously considered by the university administration each year. Over the years that this process has been in place, several proposals have been revised in response to student recommendations before the final proposed fee schedule was submitted to the USM Board of Regents,” she said.
More information on the relationship between the Student Fee Advisory Committee and yearly mandatory fees can be found at: https://fees.umbc.edu