Make the most of what tuition pays

Paying for college is expensive. However, many students miss out on services that they don’t even know they are paying for. In addition to tuition, University students must pay more than $1,500 in fees.

Through the University Bursar, you can see a detailed list of the fees you pay each semester on campus. The University Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment and Overhead Fees are standard fees for the operation of campus facilities. However, the other fees are quite vague despite having so much to offer.

One such fee is the $300 service fee. This maintains services like the Illini Union, Campus Recreation, and Student Legal Services.

The service fee also covers student access to gymnasiums, recreation areas, and the ARC Pantry. In the Union, students have plenty of study space and access to a computer lab. The fees also help fund the board of directors who plan various events throughout the year, ranging from free snacks, celebrity guest lectures, and even a zip line.

Erika Fernanda Wieting, a senior at LAS, served on the Illini Union board of directors. Speaking of the zipline, Wieting said it was funded by this fee.

“We have in our tuition, an activity fee, and part of it goes to the board so we can plan special events like this,” Wieting said. “We want as many people as humanly possible. There is a whole list of events on our social networks.

Another fee is the $70 student-initiated fee. All expenses are approved by students through the student election process, and the money helps fund several essential services on campus, such as cycling infrastructure and environmental efforts, as well as providing additional scholarship opportunities based on both merit and need.

A portion of the fee supports the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, which allows students to attend performances for free or at a subsidized price. For example, students were able to get tickets to world-famous orchestras such as the St. Louis Symphony and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for just $10, whereas a typical concert ticket can cost upwards of $100.

During the performance of the symphony, Emily Laugesen, Krannert’s vice president of engagement, said the fees were responsible for lowering ticket prices.

“The Krannert Center tuition is the main thing that makes those $10 tickets possible. So when students pay their fees in the fall and spring, that’s what helps make that $10 bill a reality.

With this reduction, Laugesen hopes that students will be enticed to attend one of the many performances at Krannert throughout the semester.

Another enriching cultural experience is available at the university’s cultural centers, which are also partially funded by student fees. The University currently has six centers, where students have access to various resources and are welcome to events like weekly luncheons.

In addition to this, student-initiated fees also fund college readership fees that provide subscriptions to USA Today, Spotlight News, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. These subscriptions alone are worth well over $400 per year with regular price.

At $244, the library and information technology fee not only keeps libraries on campus, but also provides many digital resources.

The library is arguably the most underrated service that many students (and even professors) don’t use. Some classes require case studies from articles in The Harvard Business Review and The Economist. These can cost up to $100 per semester, but all of these resources and more are readily available at the University’s digital libraries.

Another library service that is not well known is the media commons. This library provides loanable technology, ranging from calculators, chargers, laptops, and even cameras. The Media Commons will be in Room 306 of the Main Library starting this fall.

Transportation costs are $68, mainly for bus transportation. This allows access to Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District buses at stops that run through Champaign-Urbana, including off-campus bus stops by simply showing your i-card or the Illinois app.

A lesser-known service also covered by the transport fee is the SafeRides program. SafeRides allows students to request overnight transportation where they can be dropped off directly at their doorstep. The program helps students who do not feel safe walking alone.

Overall, the resources funded by this fee are worth many times what students actually pay, making it a bargain.

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About Alexander Estrada

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