Tuition sum to include all fees

More clarity, less questions for students and parents

By Katie Gardner
On March 4, 2014

With so many additional fees tacked on to tuition, University of New Hampshire Student Senate has passed a resolution that looks to consolidate all of the fees into one tuition, so that the price students are paying will be clearer to them.

The resolution passed unanimously three weeks ago and has also received the "green light" from UNH President Mark Huddleston and Vice President of Finance and Administration Dick Cannon, according to Student Body President Bryan Merrill. 

"I very much support this idea," Huddleston said. "It is much simpler and more transparent for everyone concerned: students, parents and the institution."

The consolidated tuition bill will show one number - the total sum - and will also show the breakdown of what the money is going towards. 

"Transparency is increased," Merrill said. "You'll be able to see exactly what percentage goes where."

This will be done so that students can still understand their tuition bill without the hassle of paying several fees. It also eliminates confusion about the total cost.

"Having a single consolidated bill does not preclude students and parents from understanding where their money goes," Merrill said. "The information will still be available, but the single payment will reduce the hidden cost of education."

Merrill said that this idea has been circulating through Student Senate for a few years now but that they only recently "decided it was time to put the wheels in motion on making this change a reality for UNH." This will help Student Senate help the student body.

"A single-cost system also will allow the Student Senate to redesign their oversight process to look into the school's entire budget, not just the fees," Merrill said. 

Merrill also said that a consolidated tuition bill would benefit students when it comes time to ask for another tuition freeze. The current freeze doesn't affect the additional fees that students pay; they have gone up despite tuition staying the same. Once the fees become consolidated into one sum with tuition, all of what students pay will be frozen.

Students say this is a good idea and are happy to hear that the whole price of tuition would be frozen because of this. 

"I think the price of college is too expensive as it is," Peter Bacho, a junior, said. "It's good that it'll be frozen for awhile."

Junior Brianna Boulanger agreed, saying she doesn't like the loopholes of the current freeze and that she thinks the consolidation of fees will fix this.

"I think it's a good idea because they can't do roundabout ways of upping tuition," Boulanger said. 

Merrill said that the consolidation would also help UNH receive more funding.

"We can present the full cost of tuition to legislature and can request more funding than we're getting," Merrill said. "The legislature is predicating their decisions on statistics that only show a portion of what we pay."

As for cons, Merrill and Student Senate Speaker Al Pace said that there aren't any.

"Perhaps, initially, there may be sticker shock," Pace said.

He said that once the consolidation is understood though, that the shock will go away and students will realize that they are seeing the total sum with no additional prices being added on elsewhere. Students say they like this idea.

"I think it's a good idea," freshman Nick Marino said. "A bunch of numbers all add up so it'd be nice to see what the final number is."

Junior Tess Bergeron agreed and said she thinks it'd be better if tuition were more straightforward.

"I think it's a great idea," Bergeron said. "It's better to see outright what you'll be paying. Small fees add up in the end."

Sophomore Hilary Lorden also thinks that the small fees add up and that it's easy to lose track of them all.

"I kind of like the idea of putting it all together," Lorden said. "I like the idea of one number cause all the small ones can add up quick."

One aspect of the consolidation that Merrill and Pace believe could be initially seen as a con is differential tuition, or pricing according to major. They explained that this means that different colleges within UNH have different fees and sometimes certain classes have their own fees. Merrill and Pace said these will not affect everyone's tuition and Student Senate and administration are still researching how to address this issue.

It is further explained in the resolution passed by Student Senate:

"Be it further resolved by the Student Senate of the University of New Hampshire to research the feasibility of consolidating all fees - sans study-abroad-related fees and elective class fees - and major costs into tuition; so that the only cost that students have regardless of major are tuition, housing (if applicable), and dining (if applicable)."

According to Huddleston, many other colleges and universities consolidate tuition and fees. It is unclear as to when UNH will be able to put this in place though. Merrill said that it is contingent on administration.

"It'll be at least two or three years before we see this," Pace said. "That's my guess."

Huddleston is also unsure of when this will go into effect, but he is hopeful that it won't take long.

"I don›t know how long it will take to implement - certainly there are many details to work out - but I look forward to making this happen as expeditiously as possible," Huddleston said.

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