In November, Amit Chakrabarti, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Collegian he was considering proposing a $10 per-credit-hour fee increase after the college suffered a $5 million budget cut. He promised he would work with student ambassadors before officially proposing any fee increases.
On Dec. 2, Chakrabarti sent out an email to students in the College of Arts and Sciences informing them of the fee-increase proposal.
Following, on Jan. 25, Chakrabarti hosted an open forum on the proposed student fee increase to discuss the proposal with students and allow them to express their thoughts, opinions and experiences.
With only six students in attendance, after the college took a major effort in advertising for the forum, Chakrabarti said he wonders if students do not care about the additional fee.
“At least we have more students here than the dean’s office,” Chakrabarti said jokingly. “Maybe students have just said, ‘Okay, this is my life,’ or they said, ‘This is fine I have no objection to it, so what’s the point (of attending the forum?)'”
If the proposal passes, the students’ per-credit-hour fee in the College of Arts and Sciences would increase from $16.70 to $26.70.
Chakrabarti previously told the Collegian that every student who graduates from Kansas State will have taken a class in the College of Arts and Sciences, so it affects all students.
Stephen Kucera, senior in music and accounting, was one of the students in attendance and said he is concerned some students will have to leave K-State with these additional fees.
“The concern I have is for the student who wouldn’t necessarily be able to stay here with the ever-increasing gap of financial aid packages and the total cost of education,” Kucera said. “I’ve been here five years and I’ve been up late at night trying to find scholarships to be able to stay here and it’s hard.”
Chakrabarti told the students in attendance he understands the financial concerns, but because of state budget cuts he does not have much flexibility for any more scholarships.
“It is hard,” Chakrabarti said. “I have no doubt about it that it is very hard and it’s getting harder every year.”
Reason for the fee
If passed, Chakrabarti said the additional $10 fee will fix a major problem in the college.
Chakrabarti said he anticipates the fee would bring in an additional $2.8 million in revenue.
“Every single dollar will go back to classroom teaching,” Chakrabarti said. “The money goes to non-tenured faculty.”
The fee will not go to research faculty, graduate students or anything else outside of traditional classroom teaching.
When asked by a student in attendance if the fee will go toward new or current instructors, Chakrabarti said he expects the fee will create enough funds for about 40 faculty members and with “a quick estimate,” it will be a 50-50 split between new and current instructors.
“The next step will be to submit a proposal to the provost,” Chakrabarti said. “From there, it will go to (the Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee) and we will advocate for it and see what happens.”