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February 23, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Good Call Quotes Vedder on Student Fees: Unnecessary or Essential?

Good Call’s Terri Williams quotes Dr. Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus at Ohio University and Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, in an article headlined “College Student Fees: Unnecessary or Essential?

The cost of college has reached shockingly, appallingly, disturbingly high levels, and there are no new adverbs left to describe the staggering amount of money needed to pursue a four-year degree. A recent report by Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor at Seton Hall University, reveals that student fees are 20% of the total cost of tuition at the average four-year public college or university.

Many schools charge student fees to cover the costs associated with having an athletic program….

Richard Vedder, distinguished professor of economics emeritus at Ohio University and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, tells GoodCall® it is not uncommon for schools to add a fee component that increases college costs by 10 percent to 15 percent.

While some student fees may be frivolous, even the ones that appear to be justifiable are debatable. “For example, when schools build new computer labs, they either roll the cost into tuition, or they charge a fee to cover the cost.” However, Vedder says that is not how most businesses operate. “If a company stated that they were going to charge more for their product because they had to buy new equipment, consumers would not accept that rationale.”

Although some schools such as UCSB allow students to vote on measures, Vedder believes it’s still a problematic situation. “If a student is studying abroad for a year and they’re still paying a fee for the rec center – even though they’re out of the country – they may not think the fee is fair.”

Vedder says comprehensive fees are troubling because they’re not itemized so students don’t really know what they’re paying for. “If they’re paying for the school’s athletic programs, and they don’t even attend any of the games, I’m sure many students may not want to bear this cost.”

So what about fees for services students use? Vedder says some fees are very specific. For example, only students taking a course with a lab will pay a lab fee. “However, it could still be argued that as much tuition as students pay, the school should pay for the lab. Why should that be an extra cost?”

Read the entire article.


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