Committee to finalize student fees proposal Wednesday

Julia Croston and Carter Mudgett

(Updated 11:50 am Dec. 8 to fix incorrect fee calculations)

During a duo of meetings, the Student Fee Assessment Committee listened to the budget proposals of six university departments that help make up the categories behind student fees. The committee is composed of eight members, four appointed by the Student Government President and four appointed by the University President, plus a chairperson. 

  • Scott Bennett, Vice President of Administration & Finance
  • Vince Smyth, Associate Vice President of Administration & Finance
  • Jeff Chamberlain, Hicks Honor College Dean
  • Jay Coleman, Vice President of Data Analytics
  • Selma Besirevic, Student Government President & Student Fee Assessment Committee Chair
  • John Grosso, Student Government Vice President
  • Mikhaela Alforque, Student Government Treasurer
  • George Boston, Student Government Student Advocate
  • AJ Likosar, Student Government Senate Pro-Tempore 

This year, students have the majority of representation. 

What are student fees?

Anyone looking to attend college must pay a certain amount of fees, typically amounted per credit hour, to help support the university and its underlying departments. At the University of North Florida— across the Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Summer 2022 semesters—Florida residents pay an overarching $70.28, while non-Florida residents pay $93.14 in fees per credit hour. This grand number is totaled through the categories shown below:

 UNF Rates for Fall 2021-Summer 2022 semesters. Courtesy of the UNF Controller Office.

Some monetary amounts are set by the state and cannot be changed such as the tuition, set at $105.07 per credit hour in 2014 which has remained the same since, as outlined by the Florida Statutes

More information on fees can be found here.

The Student Fees Assessment Committee listen to a presentation during their Dec. 2, 2021 meeting. (Carter Mudgett)

The Process

The Student Fee Assessment Committee does not ultimately decide the final fees for students at UNF, however, they create a recommendation to the UNF President who, in turn, sends their recommendation to the Board of Trustees (BOT)  for final approval. Each program must present to the board their proposal for their portion of student fees. This proposal will either ask to keep the department’s fee the same, increase their fee, or decrease their fee. 

On Dec. 2, the committee heard proposals from Student Government, Athletics, and the Transportation/Shuttle Bus Program. The following week, on Dec. 6, the committee returned a second time to hear presentations from Health Promotions, Student Health Services, and the Counseling Center. 

More information on the committee can be found here

Minimum Wage

Because the Florida minimum wage was raised to $10 per hour on Sep. 30, 2021, and will continue to rise by $1.00 each year until reaching $15.00, many university departments are finding difficulty making ends meet. With this continual change, some departments in the Student Fee Assessment Committee meeting noted that the fee will eventually have to be raised to compensate, less they run UNF into the ground. 

Student Government

Delving into how the A&S fee, which Student Government (SG) oversees the allocation of, is broken up, SG asked for the fee to remain the same. Currently, the A&S fee is set at $14.42. 

“$10.18 is allocated by the Legislative Branch to provide programming and support services for the student body, various Student Government entities, Spinnaker Media, the Student Union, and Recreation & Wellness/Student Wellness Complex.

$4.24 is designated as the Student Union Construction Fee. The student union fee is an activity fee that supports the construction and operations of the John Delaney Student Union. It is assessed to all students and is based upon credit hours taken,” as written in the Student Government A&S Fee Proposal


In their proposal, Athletics requested that their student fee of $19.53 per credit hour remain the same. Nick Morrow, Director of UNF Athletics, mentioned how there is a “very little margin for error” with their budget because they have minimal reserves to pull from.

“Athletics, in the last year, has cut more than any other department on campus,” noted Devany Groves, UNF’s Chief Budget Officer, who oversees all of UNF’s budgets and sat in on the committee meeting. 

Morrow believes the return of tailgating at UNF would increase their external revenue and decrease the need for student funds. He also believes more cuts to the funding would affect UNF’s Division I status and reputation. 

View their full proposal here

UNF Athletics Director Nick Morrow listens to a question from a Student Fees Assessment Committee member. (Carter Mudgett)

Transportation/ Shuttle Bus Program 

UNF Parking and Transportation Services requested $4.08 per credit hour to run the shuttle bus program. Fees for the service have not increased since 2012. The previous increase funded the shuttle to the St. Johns Town Center. The department foresees big hits in funds to increase shuttle hours in response to student demand and build a new parking garage as part of the master plan

View their full proposal here

Health Promotion

The Department of Recreation and Wellness asked to keep the same $0.54 per credit hour funding to help maintain a healthy UNF community. They did note how demand for service has increased from students. In the future, the department warns that they will have to request an increase in funding or make a special request to coincide with the increase of minimum wage. 

View their full proposal here

Student Health Services

Student Health Services (SHS) requested to maintain $2.99 per credit hour. The department has not increased this fee for 9 years wanting to keep the cost low for students. Dr. Valerie Morrison, Director of SHS, repeatedly emphasized how she wanted the money to be put right back into the students for their utilization. 

“I don’t want to carry your money when it can create better access for you now,” she said.

On average, a full-time student would spend $45 to $54 a semester. When compared to an off-campus clinic, this charge would be similar to two co-pays for a general visit.  Student Health Services provide in-clinic appointments, telehealth, COVID-19 tests, x-rays, lab tests, and other services. 

View their full proposal here

Counseling Center 

With an increase in student demand, the Counseling Center requested a $0.43 increase to the previous funding of $3.27 per credit hour. The $3.70 total would help the Counseling Center fix understaffing and student wait-time issues. The department hopes to increase the number of full-time staff to help more students and fulfill other operating requirements. 

Questioned about the center’s capabilities moving forward, Counseling Center Director Dr. Richmond Wynn highlighted how he does not anticipate the center getting through its lengthy student waiting list until Jan. 2022. Because they are short-staffed, the Counseling Center has had difficulty keeping up with student needs. 

“It’s great we all care about mental health and we should all support that,” Wynn concluded.

After Dr. Wynn’s presentation, SG Senator David Catone voiced his strong support for the Counseling Center and gave a copy of Senate Legislation to the committee members. 

JR-21S-3559, titled ‘Support of the Counseling Center,’ was written and sponsored by Senator Catone. Later, the legislation was approved and signed by then-Student Body President Ally Schneider. Student Government has made their support for mental health awareness clear in the past, hosting Mental Health Awareness Week in Jan. 2021. 

View the Counseling Center’s full proposal here

Members of the Student Fees Assessment Committee begin leaving after the meeting is adjourned. (Carter Mudgett)

What’s next?

Set to meet for a third time tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 6, the committee has noted that there will be an hour of “Committee Discussion and Recommendations” for their eventual student fee recommendation to the UNF President. Located in the John A. Delaney Student Union (Building 58E) Room 2100, the meeting will be in-person and open to the public. 

Find their full meeting schedule, and further information, here


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].