Stony Brook University is proposing raising the mandatory Comprehensive Fee for the 2018-19 academic year to $1,027.50 per semester for full-time undergraduate students and $663.50 per semester for full-time graduate students.
If the proposal is approved, the Comprehensive Fee will increase by $83.75 per semester in the coming academic year compared to a $28.50 increase this past year.
This comprehensive, or “broad based,” fee is the culmination of several smaller fees used to finance services in technology, recreation, transportation, student health/counseling and intercollegiate athletics, according to the Campus Bursar website.
Vice President for Finance and Chief Budget Officer, Lyle P. Gomes, notified students about the proposal in two separate emails sent on March 29.
“In order to continue and improve the quality of services that our students require and expect in an environment of rising costs, we are introducing increases to the Comprehensive Fee,” Gomes stated. “This increase is essential to maintaining the cost of existing student services and expanding others.”
The largest fee increases included a $44 increase in technology and a $27.50 increase in transportation.
“We’re coming from behind, unfortunately,” Assistant Provost and Senior Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Patricia Aceves, said. “Despite the fact that it sounds like there’s been a lot of fees, there hasn’t been a lot of investment in [Information Technology].”
Director of Transportation and Parking Operations Neil Werner said the majority of the transportation fee increase would go to replacing outdated university-owned vehicles.
“We have 30 full-size buses in the fleet and half of them are beyond their life expectancy,” Werner said. “So we need to make a concerted effort to replace them.”
In his emails, Gomes noted that over the past 10 months, leaders from the fee-funded service units have been consulting with student committees chosen to advise them throughout the proposal process. School officials also gave members of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) executive branch a chance to ask questions before the proposal was made public.
Sitting in her office, Christina Dorf, executive vice president of USG and junior environmental studies major, said although USG has criticized the university administration in the past for not giving students a seat at the table, she was glad members of USG have been able to give their input while the proposal is still being deliberated.
“We really appreciated being able to sit down and talk about the changes that are being made,” Dorf said.
In addition to the information on the Campus Bursar website about the fee increase, the email included names and contact information of individuals students can reach out to with questions regarding the consultation process and the proposed fees.