Students outraged after two Arizona schools hike student fees

Lauren Clark
Campus Correspondent

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  • University of Arizona will charge students a 2.5 percent "convenience fee" to pay their bills via credit or debit cards.
  • The fee will add an extra $260 for those paying in-state tuition by credit or debit, and an extra $680 for those paying out of state tuition.
  • Arizona State University will charge students $150 to subsidize athletics.
  • Extra fees have sparked outrage at two of Arizona’s largest public universities, with some students saying they are fed up with putting more money into an already expensive education.

    The University of Arizona (UA) announced in an email earlier this year that a new 2.5 percent “convenience fee” for those who chose to pay their bills via debit or credit card.

    “We cannot afford to continue to pay these fees.” - Mark McGurk, Associate Vice President of Social Services at University of Arizona.   

    With standard tuition costs, this would tack on an extra $260 a year for in-state residents and $680 for those from out of state.

    Students responded quickly with a Change.org petition that has received 6,000 signatures with plenty of angry comments.

    Ironically, Associate Vice President of Social Services, Mark McGurk, told The Daily Wildcat, the university’s official newspaper, that the fee was intended to relieve the school of some financial pressure.

    “The university budget should be used to support programs and faculty salaries and not to pay user fees to credit card companies,” McGurk said. “We cannot afford to continue to pay these fees.”

    Similar frustration is occurring at Arizona State University (ASU). According to the financial aid department, students pay a total of $518 in mandatory fees. Moreover, this upcoming year, each student will be charged an additional $150 to subsidize athletics.

    While the University stresses that each student can now attend the athletic games for free, that may not be the intent of the entire student body, especially with older students who are working and raising families.

    Cuyler Meade, 25, is one of these students. As a huge sports fan, he has some added concerns as to where the money is going.

    “The whole point of an athletic program is to help support the university and students, but now it's on the students to support the athletic program?” said Meade, who is studying journalism while raising two children.

    While Meade covers sports on a regular basis, he told Campus Reform that students aren’t likely to attend the games at the rate the ASU is hoping for.

    “While the athletic program has been performing really well lately, some students are simply not going to care—even about football.”

    Regardless of the intent of the added fees, students say the constant additions to their bills is getting both expensive and frustrating.

    Spencer Escobedo, a sophomore studying both biochemistry and molecular cellular biology at UA, says that while he doesn’t mind paying the fees that come with his lab classes, there are other charges he finds particularly annoying.

    “When I get charged for a service or processing fee, I feel like its pointless nickel-and-diming,” Escobedo said. “I mean, I know it didn’t just cost you $50 to type in my information into the system.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @LaurenLouClark

    Lauren Clark

    Lauren Clark

    Campus Correspondent

    As a Campus Correspondent, Lauren exposes liberal bias and abuses at Arizona’s colleges and universities for Campus Reform. Lauren is a junior studying journalism at Arizona State University and is working towards a joint-four year bachelor's and master's degree with a minor in political science, and an emphasis on business reporting.

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