NKU reveals fall fee increases

Students returning this fall may notice that Northern Kentucky University has changed the prices on many services. On Monday, Student Government Association listened to the budget changes that the university has proposed for the fall semester.

Instead of charging a flat $15 fee for credit card transactions on MyNKU, the university will begin charging a 2.5 percent usage fee for payments. NKU officials justify the change by saying that other colleges in the area use this system, citing the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati State and Xavier University as examples.

Because of this change, NKU will no longer allow students to make payments with VISA credit cards. The credit card company is the only one to publicly state that the company does not support percentage usage fees, such as the one NKU is moving to in the fall; so NKU has canceled its contract with VISA. To compensate for this loss, NKU is adding American Express and e-check options for students. The new e-check service will be free for students.

Along with these changes, there will be an increase in parking and housing rates. A student annual parking pass will cost $202, up from the current $195. The student semester parking pass will cost $116, up from $112.

In 2007, the Board of Regents made Parking Services an auxiliary department, meaning  it receives no funding from the university’s central budget. Andy Meeks, director of business operations and auxiliary services, said each parking spot on campus costs $18,000 to $19,000 a year to maintain. The average annual revenue for parking services is $3 million and their current annual debt service for the three garages on campus is $2.2 million. Starting this summer, parking services will be funding the repair of the BEP Garage, estimated to cost $300,000.

“These are big ticket items,” Meeks said. “It costs a lot to build them, it costs a lot to repair them and it costs a lot to maintain them.”

Residential dining services have requested a five percent increase for all meal plans. This means that the Norse Ultimate (unlimited) meal plan will increase in price from $1420 to $1490. The Freedom 2 plan, currently costing $1295, will increase to $1360. Block 145 and Block 125 meal plans, now at $1355, will increase to $1425.

“It’s just one of those things,” said SGA President Kevin Golden. “The university has fixed costs that they incur, and they are trying to not pay undue amounts.  Everyone is tightening their belt.”

“Our residential meal plans are among the lowest in the commonwealth,” Meeks said.

The increase in meal plan costs will go to the repair, replacement and annual maintenance of food service campus wide. The university is also working with Chartwells on a complete renovation of the Norse Commons Dining Facility and the Steely Library food service operations.

Students who live on campus may notice an increase in their cost of room and board. University Housing will increase dorm room prices by an average of 4.27 percent university-wide.

Students who wish to voice their opinions about the upcoming changes can contact the Student Government Association at sga@nku.edu or can stop by the SGA office in room 330 of the Student Union.

Story by Matthew Brewer