University fee: $1,000. School of Media and Public Affairs fee: $1,000. Health and Wellness Center: $225. Voluntary library gift: $50. GW tacks these and other fees onto student bills in addition to tuition every year, leaving students and parents wondering where the money goes.
Don Boselovic, associate vice president for finance, said the fees are put to good use.
He said the Health and Wellness Center fee of $7.50 a credit hour, or $112 for 15 credits each semester, pays for operating costs of the new workout facility.
These costs include staffing and equipment maintenance, Boselovic said, adding that the fee helps pay off money borrowed for construction.
A $100 graduation fee helps pay for staff, set-up costs, rental space and other expenditures for the event, Boselovic said. He did not know if the fee covers graduation speakers.
The University fee of $34.50 a credit hour – adding up to a maximum $517.50 a semester – is a combination of other fees for the Marvin Center, registration and computer labs. With about 8,000 students, the total adds up to a maximum of about $8.3 million a year.
Boselovic said 31 percent of the University fee pays for operating costs of the Marvin Center. Twelve percent is allocated to pay for “costs related to the registration process,” such as salaries for office staff members, office space rental and the cost of printing class bulletins.
About 9 percent of the University fee pays for academic technology, such as supporting computer labs, placing and servicing computers in classrooms and providing technical support and computer training for faculty members.
This amounts to about half of the revenue from the University fee. The rest provides general funds for the University’s budget that are not earmarked for any purpose and can be used for anything, such as facilities costs, library costs or paying faculty salaries.
University Librarian Jack Siggins said the voluntary $50 library fee, which is added to student bills unless requested otherwise, is used “only on those things which directly help or serve the students.”
“In other words, not on administration,” Siggins said.
The library has a sign in the lobby stating what the fee is used for.
According to the sign, $61,000 paid for new computers for students, $37,000 went to shelves, $33,000 paid for new furniture on the fourth and fifth floors and $15,000 contributed to “library development support.”
Jean Folkerts, interim dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, said the SMPA fee, which costs majors $500 a semester and minors $250 a semester, pays for replacement equipment.
Folkerts said the fee was instituted this year in order to furnish the new MPA building with equipment. All of the SMPA’s old equipment was obsolete, she said.
Folkerts said the fee will continue in future years so students never have to use outdated equipment. She said the fee is not used for other expenses, such as building maintenance or construction.
“It doesn’t pay the heating bill,” she said.
Students also pay a separate fee for their government. Student Assciation Senator Dan Moss (U-SBPM), vice chair of the finance committee, said the SA’s entire $400,000 budget comes from the SA fee, which costs students $1 a credit hour for a maximum of $15 a semester. No money comes from the University, he said, making the SA self-sufficient.
Moss said the SA reserved a fourth of the $400,000 for co-sponsorships, in which the SA helps fund student group activities.
He said the executive branch of the SA received $66,000, which is divided between various cabinet positions for events and expenses. The SA Senate received $4,250 and the Student Court received $1,250.
About $215,000 of the approximately $220,000 remainder is used for student group allocations, according to the Senate allocation bill. These allocations are based on the previous year’s budget, Moss said.
While the list of fees may seem long, officials said they can account for students’ money and have made sure their money goes to facilities that improve their GW experiences.