Student committee hears business and academic fee proposals

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Two fee proposals would raise the per-credit-hour fees of business classes by $15 and fees for all university classes by $4. Kansas State’s Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee heard fee proposals Tuesday evening from Kevin Gwinner, dean of the College of Business Administration, and Cindy Bontrager, vice president of administration and finance.

Gwinner proposed the third and final phase of the College of Business Administration fee increase to hire new faculty. This third phase will allow the addition of elective classes and advisors, which will lower the adviser-to-student ratio.

The third phase of the three-year proposal, which would take effect in fall 2017, would add a $15 per-credit-hour fee for business classes to an existing $50 per-credit-hour fee, $30 of which was established by the first two phases of the proposal.

The proposed fee amounts to an increase of between $287 and $320 per semester for business students, resulting in an increase between $2,295 and $2,565 over the course of eight semesters, according to Gwinner’s presentation.

With funds raised from the fee, the College of Business Administration would hire 13 faculty members and five new staff members to reduce class sizes, hire more advisers and staff support and offer “innovative and timely electives,” Gwinner said.

Gwinner said the college primarily considered two factors when proposing the fee, particularly the education benefit to students and the cost relative to other universities’ business colleges.

“The college takes on a lot of risks asking for these fees,” Gwinner said.

Gwinner said the fee would allow the college to hire additional professors in finance, business law, management information systems and marketing.

The committee expressed concern with the expected costs associated with each new hire, as well as the risk of the college losing accreditation. Gwinner said the fee would help ensure the college retains its accreditation.

“We are spending the money that we are asking with the fee,” Gwinner said. “After this third phase, we have no plans to ask for more money.”

Academic infrastructure enhancement fee

Bontrager proposed a university-wide academic infrastructure enhancement fee, which would implement a $4 per-credit-hour fee. The fee would generate an annual revenue of $1.9 million.

The fee would be imposed on all of the university’s students, although $900,000 would be directed toward paying for the business building, and the remaining $1 million would be used for classroom renovations.

In February 2016, Bontrager introduced an academic building support fee to the committee that would have raised $1 million per year to pay for the business building, but that fee proposal was not implemented.

“The creation of the business building opened up Calvin Hall classroom spaces, offices, as well as general-use student areas,” Jordan Kiehl, sophomore in industrial engineering, said.

The committee asked if the fee would still be needed once the business building was paid off, and Bontrager said the fee could be reduced or eliminated once the business college’s commitment is reimbursed.

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