Non-refundable fees needed for stability

Students will soon have the opportunity to change all of their refundable fees to non-refundable and in the process decrease them by $9 per semester, according to a referendum by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renée Romano.

Currently, every student pays $69 each semester in fees that go toward sustainability, Krannert, cultural programming, study abroad, the Legacy Scholarship and others.

If this proposal were to pass during a campuswide vote on Nov. 8 and 9, the costs would be packaged into one non-refundable fee of $60 each semester.

But these fees are useless to some students as they do not believe in contributing to a cause that might have little or no effect on them. And, in some cases, it is simply because of financial constraints. We understand that it is becoming increasingly expensive to afford an education at the state’s flagship campus.

But student fees should become non-refundable, as they benefit the student community as a whole. The increasing number of requests in the past few years to refund these fees has left organizations and scholarship initiatives without these needed funds — to the tune of almost $450,000 in total for the fall 2011 semester.

This trend has left these RSOs, cultural houses, Krannert and others with less money all together and, more importantly, uncertainty about the availability of funds for the upcoming semester. The ease of knowing the budget in advance will open up the opportunity for these organizations to hold events or schedule big names to come to campus they otherwise might not have.

Even though the deadline to refund these fees is relatively early each semester, organizations that rely on the availability of the funding need to be able to plan months ahead to set up events for the campus community.

In Fall 2011, almost 7,000 students on average asked for a refund. As a result of the trend in the past few year, it’s hard to imagine that the number of refunds will level off anytime soon.

We just can’t have the resources that students deserve without putting in the funds they need.