Editorial: Transparency in student fees vital

Time for athletics to step up to the plate

By TNH Editorial Staff
On April 4, 2014

In an ideal world, fees and tuition would not be raised annually. However, because of the current economic state of the country and state - as well as the amount of funding allocated for state schools in New Hampshire - this cannot be realistically expected at the University of New Hampshire.

In-state tuition is not being raised for the upcoming academic year, but this is only a temporary aid for students - and only for the students who pay in-state tuition.

However, all students are affected by the fee increases that have been approved for the upcoming fiscal year, as broken down in today's front-page article "Crunching the numbers." As the article stated early on, the cost of the fees is not the only concern, but that there are also concerns about how the fees are being spent and where students' money is going.

Concern can be interpreted as criticism of the increases, but this concern is primarily focused on the lack of knowledge about what these funds, in addition to tuition, actually cover.

Almost all of these various fees - the athletic department, Health Services, the Counseling Center, Student Recreation, the Memorial Union, technology, transportation and "Student Activity" - that students are required to pay were explained in the article by the various department heads or staff members.

One of the fees with the largest percentage increase is the Counseling Center fee, at 11.6 percent. This increase, while significant, is justified; as demand for the Counseling Center's services have grown, the funds required to meet this demand should unquestionably be increased. 

But of all of these, the most expensive fee for next year will be the athletics fee. Currently $990, the fee will increase to $998 next year

Athletics Director Marty Scarano said in the article that he welcomes the discussion about student fees but that the breakdown of what the fee covers "could take hours, so I won't get into that."

Although the increase is not significant, this fee is still nearly $1,000 per student, and in total, comprises about $11 million of the $26.5 million of the department; students deserve an explanation for how these funds are being spent.

The athletics department has been slow to share information throughout the year, such as on investigations and firings of staff members, but this information should be made readily available to the student body, as it is funding such a large portion of the department.

Tuition and fee increases are unfortunately not optional; divulging information about the use of the funds from these fees should not be optional either.

We understand that the fee breakdown and the athletics department are complex, but we have time for the explanation and justification, even if it takes hours.

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