While college students have always been quick to complain about textbook prices, the fees added to tuition are rapidly becoming as great a concern. A study from Project Muse found that student fees at a four-year public university averaged more than $1,700 each year, adding an additional 27% to the cost of tuition.
The fees pay for everything from student activities to maintenance. In one case, a school of business even charged a “professional development fee” for a subscription to The Wall Street Journal. That has some students seeing red and a few institutions thinking about other ways to approach the issue.
The University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, has rolled fees into its tuition since 2013, making it possible for students to use their financial aid to cover the bill. The results have been promising. The first class of students eligible for the program is set to graduate this year and the university said they borrowed 15% less to pay for their education. Dropout rates also fell, along with the number of applicants who didn’t show up for their freshman year after receiving their first bill.
Dayton is also saving money. The university no longer sends out up to 40,000 separate bills each year to students for the fees.
“This is very much about building trust,” Jason Reinoehl, vice president for strategic enrollment management at Dayton, said in an article that appeared in The Hechinger Report. “It’s our beacon. I think the whole industry is going to have to do this.”