Engineering students hold mixed opinions on proposed fee increase

The proposed fee increase is coming on the heels of another similar $15 fee increase that was passed for the College of Engineering last year. (Archive Photo | Collegian Media Group)

Faced with a fee proposal lacking in openness or clarity, members of the College of Engineering tuition committee held a student forum on Thursday to inform students of the fee’s details and gauge their reactions.

Krista Long, senior in biological systems engineering, said she did not know about the proposed course fee increase until she heard about it from the college tuition committee.

“I think there’s also been a lack of transparency about this fee,” Long said. “Most people don’t even know about it. … That’s something I wish, too, overall that all students were more aware that this was going on and were able to hear where their money was going to be going towards.”

The College of Engineering raised its course fees by $15 per credit hour last year, and a new proposal would raise fees by an additional $15 per credit hour for the coming school year. The College of Engineering’s current fee is $99, the highest at Kansas State University, on top of the university-wide credit hour cost of $312.50 for in-state students.

If the fee proposal is successful, the College of Engineering’s course fees will raise to $114 per credit hour.

Despite this, Long said she sees need for it in the college, and so do others.

The fee, which will be used to pay for graduate teaching assistants, will free up money from the University Engineering Initiative Act for lab renovations.

A student in computer science said during the meeting that the department is pushing its servers to the limit with their age and limited capacity.

“Servers, if you get five years out of them, you’re lucky,” the student said. “The fact that we’re still running off of eight-year-old servers, that kind of thing, that runs a very high risk of failure at that point.”

Already, some computer science classes have been canceled or almost canceled due to server troubles.

Long added that she wants to see the planned lab upgrades begin as soon as possible.

“I would expect to see lab spaces being improved very quickly,” Long said. “I would want to see that money put where people said it was going to be put right away.”

Other students were less supportive of the proposed course fee increase.

“I hope it fails just because — I’m not trying to be selfish — I just don’t see any benefit for myself or my department,” Drew Goddard, sophomore in biological systems engineering, said.

Goddard also said the $15 credit hour surcharge increase will put substantial financial strain on him and others. The increase could add more than $900 in fees over the course of a degree, bringing the grand total of fees to about $8,000.

“This fee makes it really hard to even come to school here,” Goddard said.

Editor’s note: A previous version of the article said that a student estimated an increased cost of $8,000 over two years, not the average length of time it takes to complete an engineering degree.

Hey, hi, hello! I’m Rachel Hogan, the copy chief for The Collegian. I’m a senior in journalism from Olathe, Kansas. When I’m not at work in the newsroom, I like to spend my time cuddling with my dog, working as a barista and laughing with my friends.