UConn’s student fee structure will be adjusted slightly this fall to increase the General University Fee (GUF) for the first time in five years, and to change Stamford student housing rates to reflect increases in the area’s rental market.
The Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to adopt the fees, which were explained in two town hall-style forums for students that were held last week in Konover Auditorium and broadcast on livestream feeds.
The changes include a $46 increase in the General University Fee starting in the fall 2019 semester, the first increase in the GUF since fall 2014. The bulk of the proceeds will be used to fund an upgrade in the Husky One Card system, in which all cards will eventually be replaced with cards that include more security safeguards.
UConn’s guiding principles when setting fees are to protect affordability by increasing them only when absolutely necessary; to promote simplicity and transparency to allow the fees to be easily understood; and to use the revenue to help ensure financial stability, preventing further slippage in academic excellence despite state funding cuts.
Despite the changes, an analysis by UConn officials shows that the University offers academic excellence at a significant value for Connecticut residents compared with the amounts they would pay if they attended many competing institutions.
The tuition and fees for fall 2019 for in-state students are about $15,730, which is reduced by financial aid for the majority of students.
It compares very favorably to the cost they would pay to attend other institutions such as Boston College ($56,001), Quinnipiac University ($47,960), University of Vermont ($42,516), Penn State ($34,858), UMass ($34,570), and others.
Stamford student housing rates will also be adjusted, starting with the fall 2019 semester. They currently range between about $10,250 and $13,500 annually, depending on the housing unit’s size, and would increase to a range of about $10,550 to $13,900 yearly.
Even with the fee adjustments, the student housing offered by UConn will remain lower than the amounts students would pay to rent privately. The Stamford market for private rentals increased by an average of 1.7 percent in 2017 and 4.2 percent in 2018, for a combined increase of 6 percent over the past two years.
About 425 students currently live in the university-sponsored housing in two Stamford buildings; that figure is expected to reach about 450 this fall, with the addition of a third site.
Increases were also approved Wednesday in academic fees in certain graduate and professional programs and courses in the schools of law, engineering, business, and nursing. Most are master’s and doctorate level, professional certificates, and other non-undergraduate programs.
Various other fees will remain unchanged, including those paid to fund Student Health Services, technology, buses and other forms of transit, and student activities.
Fall 2019 also marks the first semester in which the new Student Recreation Center fee goes into effect, with the building scheduled to open this summer.
The fee was approved when the project was authorized in 2013 and will be used to cover the building costs and operations of the new center, which was built at the request of students. The fee is set at $250 per semester for undergraduates and $200 per semester for graduate students.
The new center features three stories with 191,000 square feet of space, including about 30,000 square feet of fitness space; a four-court gymnasium; two multipurpose activity courts; an indoor running track; an aquatics center with a 25-meter pool and a recreational pool; a climbing center; racquetball courts; and other rooms for training and multipurpose uses.
The project had been under discussion for more than a decade before the Board of Trustees in 2013 voted to approve the concept and authorize moving forward, based on feedback from town hall-style meetings with students and the endorsement of the Undergraduate Student Government and a student advisory committee.
Dozens of students attended a trustees’ meeting in April 2013 where the project was discussed, telling the board that space and amenities in the Greer Fieldhouse and Guyer Gymnasium were inadequate and outdated. Club sports teams also have found themselves limited in the times and locations where they could practice, and students have reported long lines to use the fitness equipment.
Students will not be charged per visit to use the new Student Recreation Center; the fee will cover use of its amenities.