Each year, a full-time undergraduate student at NC State can expect to pay $2,565.60* in student fees, and of that, $310.35 goes toward funding NC State’s Wellness and Recreation program, according to Eric Hawkes, executive director of Wellness and Recreation.
Hawkes said while Wellness and Recreation generated income from a few other sources, the majority of its funding comes from student fees, accounting for 76% of Wellness and Recreation’s total revenue in the 2019-20 budget year at $4.98 million.
A large portion of this money goes right back into the hands of the 662 students employed by Wellness and Recreation, Hawkes said, with 23% of total expenses going toward student employee wages.
“Students are paying almost $5 million,” Hawkes said. “$1.5 million of that is going right back to student salaries.”
The second-largest student fee expense is facilities, with $1.3 million in student fees going toward supporting existing facilities as well as expansion projects. According to Eric Hawkes, the Carmichael Gym addition and renovation fee, which pays for the Wellness and Recreation center, is slated to cost students $92.50 annually for the next 25-30 years; the Carmichael expansion fee, which costs students $27.50 annually, supports the recent locker room expansion and fitness center renovation completed in 2016; and the Carmichael Indebtedness fee of $23 supports general repair and upkeep of equipment and facilities.
While most of the student fee money is spent on projects involving the Carmichael complex, Wellness and Recreation supports facilities all across campus.
“We have outdoor tennis courts and outdoor basketball courts,” Hawkes said. “We also have Miller Fields and Method Road fields, which a lot of club athletics use. There are some recreation fields on Centennial Campus that we also manage and maintain.”
Administrative and facilities costs account for much of Wellness and Recreation's student fee revenue, but money also goes toward supporting many other, smaller services, according to Hawkes. Outdoor adventures are supported by student fees, along with other physical education programs and unsponsored athletics. Hawkes said money is spent on officials and scorekeepers for NC State's intramural sports programs, and money for travel and other operating costs is provided to club teams. However, the amount of money available is limited.
“Club sports has a budget of around $90,000, and intramural sports is $250,000,” Hawkes said. “If you look at what it costs to run the club, I think we pay maybe 10% of what they actually need.”
According to Edna Williams, business manager for Wellness and Recreation, student fees also pay for parts of the department’s budget under the “current services” umbrella.
“Current services are janitorial contracts for the other buildings, such as lawn maintenance services or anything that is service-related,” Williams said. “Then you also have property insurance, vehicle insurance, stuff like that.”
Over the past six years, student fees have increased by 3.9%, with the majority of that increase occurring in the 2015-16 budget year, according to Hawkes, who said that since taking his position in 2017, he has tried to keep student fee increases down.
“We recognized that affordability is super important,” Hawkes said. “We work as hard as we can to keep our expenses down and to really find revenues on our own … we do charge activity fees for personal training, specialized group fitness classes and other activities, so we own a little bit of our destiny when it comes to money coming in, and we're excited to not ask for student fee increases.”
*Editor's note: The student fees figure inaccurately showed the amount per semester rather than year, and has been corrected.