Student fees for summer 2020 at the University of Kansas were reduced 22% due to the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to ease financial strain on students.
Seth Wingerter, the student body vice-president for the 2019-20 school year, was on the committee to oversee the status of the fee. With various members of campus administration also in attendance, the fee review sub-committee voted in April to hold the summer fee steady.
However, Wingerter said he and the head of the committee Jason Hornberger, senior associate vice provost of finance, received a call from higher administration pushing for a reduction.
“[Hornberger] came back to the committee and said that there was a call from upper administration to do an across the board cut of 22%,” Wingerter said. “From what it sounds like, it was a call down from senior leadership at the University that we needed to cut the fee in order to have less of a financial burden on students.”
The summer fee is roughly half of what students pay in fees every semester. The fee for summer 2020 was originally set to be $259.40 per student. Wingerter said the Chancellor made the decision to cut the fee down to a flat $200.
“This was applied pretty much evenly across all of the groups receiving money from student fees,” said Andrew Moore, Student Senate treasurer. “Everything from the Union, to KU Transit, to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, to the [University Daily Kansan], and a whole bunch of other services.”
Due to the reduction of the summer fee, there was an estimated loss of over a quarter of a million dollars that would have been generated in coming months. Administration had estimated summer enrollment to be around 4,300 students.
Under the original summer fee of $259.40 per student, a projected $1,115,420 in revenue would have been collected. Moore said that with the new fee system, the University will only generate around $860,000.
Grant Daily, current student body vice president, was unsettled by the lack of student representation at the meeting when the decision was made. Without student representation at the meeting, Student Senate was unable to participate in the discussion of the decrease.
“For one reason or another, there was only one student on this committee,” Daily said. “We were hardly consulted.”
Moore echoed Daily’s concerns about the lack of students present when the decision was made to cut the fee.
“I personally would have liked to see a bit more consultation of students when making that decision,” Moore said. “The fact that it was pretty much cut by the Chancellor without a ton of student consultation, exempting Seth, came as a little bit of a shock to us.”