‘Billing error’ delays seg fees increase to spring

Calvin Skalet

There will be an increase in segregated fees for UW Oshkosh students starting in spring 2018. Full-time UWO students will be charged $572.21 in segregated fees, a $21.71 increase from the fall 2017 semester.

The UW Oshkosh Segregated Fees Committee met last spring and voted on a motion to increase segregated fees by $42 a year. Although the Board approved the increase for fall semester billing, the increase won’t be in effect until UWO’s 2018 spring semester.

Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said that it was understood that the increase would affect UWO students’ fall semester bills, but lack of communication forced the billing to go into effect in the 2018 spring semester.

“We are normally required to notify students in advance when we change fees, and that communication was not made. I do not know why, but it wasn’t made, which means the students were not charged $21 per semester for this fall semester,” Leavitt said. “We have since notified the students that there will be an increase of $21 on their spring bill.”

Leavitt said projects like the newly-renovated Reeve Memorial Union caused the rise in cost for segregated fees.

“The majority of the increase this year is due to debt service and mortgage for the Reeve renovation,” Leavitt said. “The other things just go to the general cost of doing business.”

Segregated university fees, which are separate from instructional fees, are given to fund student services, activities, programs and facilities that support the mission of UWO. The fees are separated into two categories, allocable and non-allocable.

Allocable fees are segregated university fees that show substantial support for UWO activities and services that are student-allocated upon approval of the chancellor and the Board of Regents. The Allocation Committee is the university group organized at UWO for the purpose of engaging in the allocation process and funds recognized student organizations, intramurals and departmental clubs.

Non-allocable fees are fees that are used to support long-term commitments for fixed financial obligations, ongoing operating costs of University-owned or controlled buildings and similar commitments for student unions, health centers, child care centers and recreational sports centers.

Oshkosh Student Association President Maria Berge said the cost is always rising, and due to high graduation rates, UWO is forced to charge students more.

“As time goes on, prices are going up at a slight rate,” Berge said. “Also, last year we graduated the highest number of students, which is fantastic, but now we have less students here paying for those fees.”

Chance Smith, a radio/TV/film major at UWO, said while this rise in segregated fees may seem small, at the end of the day it all adds up.

“Granted it’s only $20, so it’s not that much of an increase, but we already pay so much in tuition and segregated fees,” Smith said.

Smith said he is curious as to what these fees will directly impact from a student perspective.

“In that email, they didn’t really say what the exact purpose was to raise the fees, so I’m very curious to see why they decided to raise the price,” Smith said.

Smith said his wish is that the request from the University for more money is followed with efforts to help the University as well as its future students.

“If they are raising these fees for a reason, [I hope] it’s for a good reason for future students and it goes to fund something valuable for UW Oshkosh and its student body,” Smith said.