NC State’s Department of Academic and Student Affairs and Student Government* held a town hall event on Tuesday to inform students on the fees they pay and what they are allocated toward.
The event was led by Mike Mullen, vice chancellor and dean for Academic and Student Affairs. He said that the university’s budget last year was approximately $1.5 billion, with approximately a fifth of that coming from tuition and fees paid by students. Twenty-eight percent of that chunk is fee money, which comes out to approximately $88 million dollars for the 2017-2018 school year.
The $1.5 billion budget goes to a variety of expenses, including $486 million for instruction, $298 million on research and $141 million on public service projects. However, the fee and tuition money is not directly pooled together, according to Mullen.
Tuition money exclusively covers costs of academic and administrative operations, like instructor salaries. On the other hand, fees can be used for effectively everything else, like encompassing health services, transportation, technological funding and much more.
According to the presentation, NC State’s per student fees last year totaled $2328.60, which is among the upper half of fee costs in the UNC System. In comparison, UNC-Chapel Hill students pay $1712.04, which is among the lowest.
Five individual departments spoke at the event, each receiving a significant amount of money from student fees per year.
Transportation - $205.00
The Transportation department at NC State is funded by two sources: parking fees and transit fees, according to a presentation by Catherine Reeve, Director of Transportation. $10.5 million was collected from parking fees, which includes parking passes, while transit contributed $5.6 million.
A large chunk of this money goes toward funding bus transit services and providing fuel.
The Wolfline fleet is slated to add several buses over the upcoming summer, with each bus estimated to cost $255 thousand.
Health Services / Counseling - $407.00
Julie Casani, Director and Medical Director at the Student Health Services led a presentation explaining the department’s responsibilities for things such as primary care, physical therapy, dental services, women’s services and outreach events at NC State. About half of the budget that contributes to these services comes from student fees.
Monica Zozone Osburn, Executive Director at the Counseling Center and Licensed Professional Counselor, explained that the center provides general counseling, crisis response, psychiatric services and outreach programs across campus. She further said that the demand for these services has risen since the 2012-2013 school year.
This past school year, over 5400 students visited the Counseling Center, a significant increase from the 3833 back in the 2012-2013 year. In addition, approximately 38 percent of students are also waiting longer than two weeks for an appointment, which has also been on the rise the past year.
Student Center Operations - $132.40
The fees going toward Student Center Operations pay for a variety of costs including personnel salaries, facilities costs and arts events, according to a presentation by Tim Hogan, operations director at University Student Centers. This money also goes toward renovation projects,like the Witherspoon Cinema renovation.
Wellness and Recreation - $168.86
This fee contributes to group fitness sessions, personal trainers and salaries of employees, as explained by Eric Hawkes, Executive Director at Wellness and Recreation.
For the 2017-2018 year, this department received $4.8 million from student fees and $1.5 million from self generated revenues. Over $1.4 million of that money goes toward the salaries of over 650 student employees.
Educational and Technology Fee - $439.28
Mullen explained in a presentation that this fee was originally implemented to cover costs of enrolling in classes back in the early 2000s, this fee pays for computer lab equipment, recording equipment, personnel, internet access around campus and various other services.
About a third of this money goes toward personnel costs and another third goes toward facilities and materials, like computers.
A detailed breakdown of fees paid can be found on the student services website.
*Editor's Note: This article was updated to accurately name the campus partners that planned the event.