What is the SUNY college fee?

Jillian LeBlanc, Opinion Editor

SUNY Buffalo State – among other colleges in the U.S. – provides their students with a generalized summary regarding the disbursement of tuition costs. Along with every SUNY school in New York, Buffalo State charges students a college fee, but provides little information about what that money goes towards.

Full time students are charged $12.50, while part-time students pay $0.85 per credit hour.

Buffalo State senior Ben Joe was shocked to hear the fee existed. He never saw it on his tuition bill before and had no idea what it was.

Becky Schenk, director of budget and internal controls at Buffalo State, said the fee was first implemented in 1963; a requirement for all SUNY schools to help support campus operations.

“It’s a SUNY policy and it is true at every campus,” Schenk said. “So each campus will collect from the students in attendance their portion of that college fee and that stays at the campus.”

While the fee is collected from every SUNY college, the use of the fee has changed over time. Today the fee goes towards Buffalo State’s main basis of support, but it was previously used to pay for the resident’s halls.

“Initially it was being used to help offset a piece of the residents hall costs,” Schenk said. “At that time resident’s halls – where they existed – were not operating under the same concept they do today, which is self-sufficiency.”

Schenk said the current cost of running the resident’s halls is built into the price that students pay when they become a resident. The transition happened over time, slowly changing what the money was being used for. She said the college fee has always been used to support campus operations in some way.

Today these operations include – but are not limited to – the university police, faculty, classrooms, student services, and support personnel.

“So it is used – along with the tuition that gets collected with students to support the cost of pretty much everything you see at Buffalo State,” she said.

Schenk said the fee is estimated to collect about $200,000 a semester, but overall it does not collect nearly as much as other fees. So the funds from the college fee go into the cooperation’s budget – the main budget of the college – rather than a separate entity, such as the athletic fee.

“It does not seem like a big number compared to many of the other big numbers that we talk about,” she said.

Schenk said the $12.50, or $0.85 fee has never increased or decreased since its inception 50 years ago. She added that it is highly unlikely for the college fee to increase in the years to come.

“I don’t think there would be any reason why someone would look to this particular item and say ‘lets open it up for discussion,’ and raise it,” she said. “And that is frankly because of the current environment we do live in where we have fees at the campus that are charged to students for technology and for athletics and for health services.”


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