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New $500 fee

The UA is proposing a $500 annual fee for honors students, said Patricia MacCorquodale, dean of the Honors College.


""There are a lot more individualized and personalized elements that go into the Honors College education,"" MacCorquodale said. ""They get smaller classes and more personalized attention.""

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MacCorquodale explained that it costs about twice as much for an honors class than a non-honors course, because classes are often smaller and are typically taught by faculty members as opposed to teaching assistants and adjuncts.


""To provide these honors services, we needed to pay for that through a fee,"" MacCorquodale said.


The Honors Student Council voted March 3 to support the fee with the hope that, if implemented, honors students will have a direct say in the allocation of a large portion of the money. Other ideas included transparency in its allocation and a guarantee that it only benefits honors students. The Honors Student Council ensured that the Honors College is taking all possible measures to provide an honors education to everyone who wants it, said Tim Malan, president of the council.


""I truly believe that the dean wants what's in our best interest, and I am glad that we really hit some important points in our discussion about the fee,"" Malan said.


Malan worries the fee has the potential to deter students from receiving honors education.


""Hopefully this is something we can fix by using a large portion of the fee money to create opportunities in the honors program for both FAFSA and non-FAFSA students,"" Malan said.


MacCorquodale has not heard any positive or negative feedback on the proposed fee from any group outside of those she has already spoken with.


""I talked to students about the fee in the last few years, and I met with the Honors Student Council a few times this semester,"" MacCorquodale said about informing students of the possible fee. ""I know that there are students who don't want to pay a fee and are disappointed at the proposal.""


MacCorquodale said other universities across the country charge fees for honors programs.


""We're sometimes asked if there's an additional cost to being in the Honors College. It's not an idea people have not thought about before,"" she said.


Communications senior and honors student Christine Filer expressed skepticism over the proposed fee.


""Attaining high academic achievement shouldn't be a finance burden,"" Filer said. ""The Honors College shouldn't put another burden on students, especially since we are paying fees and tuition already.""


Filer has been a member of the Honors Student Council for three years, and plans on graduating with honors.


Philosophy freshman and honors student Louise Williams had a mixed response to the proposed fee.


""I don't like it in principle, it's basically making people pay for having a passion for knowledge,"" she said. ""But I understand that the economic climate right now is hard and the university is just trying to get by. It's a necessary evil.""


Williams said it is the Honors College's duty to make sure students understand exactly what the fee money is going toward.

 


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