UK’s student fees should be optional for students who don’t partake in what they cover


Illustration by Allie Hall

Karrington Garland, Opinions Editor

As an out-of-state college student, my tuition at this university is steep – upwards of $50,000 a year. However, thanks to a scholarship that takes care of a large amount of it, I am fortunate enough to reach this height in my educational journey.

 But the price for education has always been high, and I’ve always wondered exactly what we are paying for each year. Besides room and board, books and basic school supplies, what else is our tuition money covering?

If you didn’t already know, the 2022-2023 Tuition and Mandatory Fee Assessment Policy and the Additional Program, Course and other Student Fees for 2022-2023 are laid out on UK’s Student Account Services website. 

These two documents detail the different costs of a vast variety of fees that students at UK are paying for or have already paid for this academic year.

In all honesty, I expected to be paying a whole lot more than $681.50 in student fees for being a full-time student this year. I noticed how the breakdown of some fees were for things all UK students would benefit from: Technology, Campus Recreation and the Student Activities Board (SAB) were among those included. 

That is, if students fully take advantage of the events, opportunities and activities on campus held by the services listed above. And not all students want to participate in campus life or partake in the services available to us.

I know that as great as Alumni Gym and the Johnson Center facilities are, that last time I stepped foot in either was two years ago. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my experiences at these places, but living off-campus, I don’t feel the need to venture to either for a workout. 

And I’ve been to very few events hosted by the SAB in my almost four years at this university. A part of me doesn’t mind that I’m paying for these fees. I understand that without them I might not have been lucky enough to score tickets to Lizzo’s concert coming up on April 22.

I also would not have seen so many movies through WRFL’s Film Club series in Worsham Cinema during my first two years of school here, when I needed to escape from reality for a little while.

I miss those memories and would jump at the chance to go to another film hosted by them in the future.

I wonder how students who maybe weren’t aware of the extra fees would feel. And how students who don’t necessarily want to pay for all these student fees if they have no desire to take part in them would feel. These fees are mandatory. 

Or broadly, are students understanding and not caring that these fees are mandatory because it helps support the collective community here at UK? Are there other fees that should be reflected in the assessment?

A part of me thinks the option of opting out of the fees and getting a choice in adding them onto your tuition at the start of the academic year should be considered. College is already expensive as is.

If students don’t want to partake in the opportunities, events or the recreational facilities, should they be allowed to opt out? Or is the greater contribution to the campus community more important?

I think as an institution, UK would like students to recognize that these contributions are for the greater student body, but I also don’t think individuals should pay for fees they personally do not benefit from or care to utilize. I think the choice should be up to us to make.