$40,000 and then some

When GW students and their parents pay more than $40,000 for two semesters, some may not realize that there may be more money they owe the University throughout the year.

After paying one of the highest university tuitions in the country, students could also be hit throughout the year with fees in a number of situations, such as moving in early, losing a room key, being locked out of a dorm or losing a GWorld card. Both Colonial Inauguration and graduation will also cost a student at least $100, and voluntary donations can add up as well.

For the first time this year, students moving into their dorm rooms before their assigned dates encountered a daily rate of $175 charged by the Community Living and Learning Center.

“The daily rate … was determined based on an average nightly rate for area hotels, which (is the only) other viable option for short-term lodging,” said Seth Weinshel, director of campus housing and occupancy management.

Weinshel explained that the early arrival fee enables CLLC to better manage the amount of early move-ins. Students arriving early to work for GW offices are exempt from the charge.

Weinshel added that the CLLC office has received few complaints from students or parents concerning the fee.

Residential Property Management is also implementing a new residence hall key replacement policy this fall that could cost students about $80.

The procedure enables residents who have lost their dorm room keys to obtain a free loaner key for 24 hours. If the loaner is not returned the student will automatically be issued a new lock and key, along with an $80 charge. Other residents of the room must exchange for a new one or be billed $10.

This semester it will also cost $20 for students to use the “let-in” service, by which a FixIt technician can unlock a dorm room for a student who is locked out.

According to a University-wide e-mail sent by Residential Property Management, officials expect such policies to improve “the overall management of residence room keys and increase campus security.”

In addition to being charged for losing a room key, students are also charged $25 for replacing their GWorld card.

Matt Nehmer, the University’s assistant director of media relations, explained that each time a GWorld is lost or stolen, a new ID number must be generated within a system that not only affects the service but also the Washington Research Library Consortium, of which Gelman Library is a part, and the system that manages access to GW’s parking facilities.

“These changes must be propagated to each system and of course a new card printed and issued,” he said.

GW also charges students when they start at the University as well as when they finish. Each freshman encounters a $250 CI cost and every graduating student pays a $100 graduation fee, which helps cover the cost of Commencement ceremonies, including graduating on the Ellipse.

Students and parents may also be unaware that they annually donate $50 to Gelman Library by not unchecking a box on their GW bill. Bob Kershner, director of Student Account Services, explained that the library fee is standard among universities.

“This is an initiative of the President’s Office, modeled after a similar program at Harvard,” he said adding that his office has received few, if any complaints, over the method of fund-raising.

The Student Association fee is an annual mandatory fee that varies by credit hour and is used directly for SA purposes.

Kershner said that charging fees are usually beneficial to a University because fees typically do not have to navigate through the budget process but instead go directly to the intended cause. He said they also help individual programs or schools that may not get the same funding every year maintain a budget.

Georgetown University students see similar fees, including a student government fee and a student activity fee.

“Students actually voted to create the student activity fee a few years ago as a means of supporting various student activities on campus,” said Julie Green Bataille, Georgetown University’s director of media relations.

The University of Maryland utilizes student fees due to self-supported activities in higher education mandated by the state, said UMD Assistant Director of University Communications Cassandra Robinson.

She added that self-supported areas such as dining services and athletics cannot be covered by tuition state appropriations. Instead students contribute an athletic fee, shuttle bus fee and student activity fee, among others, that can total more than $600.

“(Fees) are targeted to students who use the specific service, like the residence halls, designated for specific services that broadly benefit nearly all students … (and) are designated for services that the state mandates to be self supporting,” Robinson said.

Kershner, the director of Student Account Services, contends that GW charges fewer fees than most schools.

He said, “At my alma mater, I paid more in fees than tuition.”

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