Why is a student fee necessary to support a portion of the new Center for Student Life? What is meant by “shared investment?”
Historically, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has used its bonding authority and general fund debt service to build only academic buildings as capital projects. Continued strains and demands on the state budget do not allow for funding other types of buildings that are essential for a vibrant living and learning community. State-bonded funding paid for our New Science Building. We are now asking the state to fund a new College of Education and Model Laboratory School. Funding for student experience-related projects will have to come from alternative sources, including agency bonds on which the University must pay the debt, public/private partnerships, University operating funds, gifts from donors and new sources of revenue like a student fee. We anticipate that the implementation of this new Special-Use fee will contribute the majority of the funding necessary for the student union and recreation center projects, and the University is committed to finding other sources of revenue to make up any shortfall.
What will I have to pay each semester?
The EKU Student Senate approved the implementation of a “Special-Use” fee structure that will require full-time undergraduate and graduate students to contribute $150 per semester. Part-time undergraduate students will be asked to pay at a rate of $12.50 per credit hour; part time graduate students will be asked to pay at a rate of $16.67 per credit hour. Revenue generated from the collection of this fee will only be available for the building and/or renovation of the university’s student union and student recreation centers.
You said this would enhance the value of my degree. How is that?
We believe our efforts to make the EKU experience more distinct and compelling will advance our efforts to recruit excellent students, faculty and staff, expand our already superb academic programs and engage our alumni and donors in participating in the life of the University. Our efforts today will bring recognition and financial resources to the University that will allow us to better invest in our people, programs and places. What we do to enhance the student life experience will lead to better engagement among our students, faculty and staff. This engagement leads to a better overall living and learning environment.
We have a good fitness and wellness center now -- why do we need a new one?
Our current student recreation center is one piece of what was initially designed to be a three-part facility. We were unable to fund parts two and three of the project and are now looking at other options. We want to build a facility that offers more space and programming options.
Why were we not told about this ahead of time?
The student fee initiative has been led by your student senators and has been a topic of conversation on this campus for well over a year now. They are your representatives in SGA and they worked hard over the past three months to engage student audiences, study every aspect of the fee and engage with multiple subject matter experts to adequately understand the decision they were to make. They also sponsored an open forum on the initiative the week prior to the vote. The Eastern Progress also ran a front-page story about this proposed fee and the revitalization plan in January. What made the senators' job challenging was that they, and you as students, are being asked to embrace a partnership between students and the University and a vision for a still-evolving Center for Student Life concept via the new $150-per-semester fee. Our student senators did not offer concrete costs, designs or programming commitments at this juncture because all of those areas will be addressed over the next six months during a student-led design process. What they could offer is a commitment to shared costs, student design input and the opportunity to leave an enduring legacy at EKU.
This fee will be a tremendous financial hardship for me. Will I be able to appeal my payment of this fee?
Since the addition of this fee will increase your cost of attendance, any financial aid award you receive will be adjusted to lessen the financial impact. No appeals will be considered.
Will the fee be charged to students taking a full load in the summer? What about all the students taking only one or two summer courses?
The Special-Use Fee will be implemented beginning with the fall 2015 semester. Beginning in the fall, full-time undergraduate and graduate students will pay $150 per semester. Part-time undergraduate students will pay at a rate of $12.50 per credit hour; part-time graduate students will pay at a rate of $16.67 per credit hour.
I'm a junior/senior so I will never get to enjoy any of these facilities. Why should I have to pay?
Your investment via the student fee is an investment in the future value of your EKU degree. We believe three elements in this effort are worthy of your investment. Costs will be shared between students, the University and with outside partners on various aspects of this new Center for Student Life. Students are asked to contribute to a new campus recreation center and renovated student union. Other funding will allow us to build the new pedestrian entrance, the Carloftis Garden and a new and dedicated student dining facility, paid for by our food service vendor. We also intend to invest $75 million (which was approved last session by the General Assembly) in our residence halls as we recruit private investors to replace our aging housing inventory. Remember also that the CSL concept is but one element in a comprehensive campus revitalization initiative that will include state-funded new academic facilities, a visitor’s center and new intercollegiate athletics facilities. We are also working on a new comprehensive capital campaign that will further expand our funding options on major projects as we move forward.
I never use a fitness/wellness center. Why can't that be covered with a user fee?
Research shows that the healthier and more engaged students are, the better they perform and the more ready they are for life beyond college. We hope that if we provide a compelling enough set of health, wellness, dining and student life experiences, you will use these facilities and participate more in the life of the University.
I'm an online student. I live hundreds (or thousands) of miles away. Why should I have to pay anything at all to support this?
Our efforts to enhance the EKU experience will bring greater distinction to the University and directly impact the value of your degree. The more we can improve the reputation of EKU, the more your degree from Eastern will mean to potential employers, to our alumni, to our Legislature, and to our community.
I attend a regional campus. Why should I have to pay anything at all to support this?
EKU students often begin their studies online or at our regional campuses and then transfer to the main campus to complete their degree. We want all of our students to feel connected to EKU. It is our hope that the revitalization will draw you to Richmond to participate more in the life of the University.