WV: Students Seek to Lower Fees

Tuition and fees, diversity and transportation highlighted WVU students concerns as they had the chance to provide their thoughts to the university's governing body last week.

WVU's Student Government Association (SGA) representatives addressed the Board of Governors (BOG) during the students' annual constituency meeting.

One concern — as it often is for students — is the price of their education. For an undergraduate, in-state student, it costs $5,232 year. For out-of-state undergrads, it costs $18,408.

The costs go far beyond tuition, though.

"Students throughout the university pay different amounts of fees," said Bryan Bumgardner, director of communications for SGA.

Depending on the college, in-state students can pay from $416 to $1,056 in fees. The figure is slightly higher for out-of-state students. That's on top of a $1,224 student fee to fund student services.

The student services money goes to various endeavors at the university: 17.3 percent to the recreation center, 6.3 percent to technology and 12.6 percent to transportation.

Bumgardner said that over time, new items get added to the pot, and the university is spending on items no longer of relevance. He implored the board to talk to students and find areas that need funding and areas that could see a reduction because they are not used.

Students also have to pay for living arrangements. When all costs are added, it's estimated that an in-state student, living in a residence hall pays $18,375 a year. For someone living off campus the estimate is $17,168.

"It gets really expensive to live here," he said.

But cost isn't the biggest issue for students. For many, it's transportation.

Transportation is something that students rely on everyday, said SGA President Ryan Campione. For students, there are four main modes of transportation — the PRT, bus, walk and drive.

During the presentation, Campione showed two schedules and demonstrated how it can be a close call no matter the method to make it between the two WVU campuses in time for class.

There is a transportation crunch and it's no longer confined to the Downtown Campus, Campione said.

The transportation system is at capacity and mass transit is only good once the student is on campus, he said. When one of the four main options fails, it puts a strain on the whole system. For example, if the PRT is down, students flock to buses.

Campione said transportation is a growing community issue, and the students hope to work with WVU, the city, the county and even the state to find solutions.

Diversity is also a concern for students, Campione said. There are areas the university can improve, such as meeting students' religious

needs.

Campione also told the board about the possible creation of a campus center that revolves around sexual orientation.

The SGA has undertaken several initiatives this year to get students more involved .

"We 're really excited about all the things we've been able to accomplish this year," said Ashley Morgan, an SGA athletic councilor.

One of those was student basketball ticketing, Morgan said. It is now similar to football, where students can register for tickets before the game and no longer have to camp out in poor conditions for tickets.

Other SGA success included putting up white boards where students can write their concerns, hosting student public forums and placing defibulators in the residence halls.


Copyright 2014 - The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.

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