Following your money

The university adds $690 to tuition to fund programs.

For Temple students, tuition costs depend on the particular college or school that his or her major falls into. However, one cost remains consistent university-wide – the University Services Fee.

The now-$690 fee is allocated toward computer equipment and technology throughout Main Campus, access to all student activities, the maintenance and expansion of recreational and academic facilities and student health services, according to the bursar’s website.

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Ken Kaiser said the technology part of the fee is used toward academic computers throughout Main Campus, and that every school and college submits a proposal annually for increasing computing capabilities for faculty and students. Those proposals are reviewed, and the funding from this part of the fee is then split up between each proposal.

He added that many public computers – including those in the TECH and Paley Library – are funded by the general budget.

The services fee is further split into a Student Activities Fee and a General Activity Fee, Kaiser said. The first is used for hundreds of student organizations on Main Campus, while the latter is collected to provide free athletic and event tickets for students.

Half of the General Activity Fee is used for athletics, while the other half is allocated for the Dean of Students Office, Kaiser added. Athletics uses the money for general funding and to buy student tickets, while the Dean of Students Office distributes the money through many student organizations on Main Campus.

Although many students have complained that they shouldn’t be paying for events they don’t attend, Kaiser said the fees are for the entire student body.

“If you didn’t charge in this fee structure … if we didn’t charge those fees, and charged for each [event], students wouldn’t be able to afford it,” Kaiser said.

The breakdown of the University Services Fee, Kaiser said, is approximately 36 percent for technology, 17 percent for Student Health Services,  14 percent for the General Activity Fee, 12 percent for recreational services, 10 percent for counseling services, 7 percent for facilities and 4 percent for student support services.

Kaiser added that the University Services Fee hasn’t fluctuated much in his time at Temple, because it isn’t linked to state funding.

“It stays pretty consistent,” Kaiser said. “Over the past couple of years, we increased it for more counselors … [but] it can’t be used to offset cuts in state funding, because it’s allocated toward very specific purposes.”

However, one way the University Services Fee could increase is if the Dean of Students Office requests more money due to an increase in student organizations, he added.

Beside the University Services Fee, students also have to contribute to a matriculation fee, which helps cover student orientation and graduation costs, Kaiser said. Students are also responsible for course fees, which vary from replacing lab equipment for a science class to paying for show tickets for a theater or music class, he added.

Students may also be responsible for other fees pertaining to a particular school or college. David Glezerman, assistant vice president and bursar, said that like course fees, many of these other fees are associated with certain classes or a particular curriculum, ranging from supply fees for a Tyler School of Art student to private instructor lessons for a Boyer College of Music and Dance student.

Even with all the technical differences between student fees, a common thread that links all of them together is that they serve a particular purpose, Kaiser said.

“These fees have a very specific, narrow purpose,” he said. “We cannot touch these fees, the owner of these fees is the only one that can use them.”

Steve Bohnel can be reached at or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

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