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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tuition covers more than just class

There are more perks to attending UC Davis than a Shields Library account.

While most of the cost associated with tuition goes toward campus and academic operation, two fees are purely to provide amenities for students. Campus-based fees and the Student Services Fee go toward facilities and programs, such as the Memorial Union renovation and health and recreational services.

The key to making the most of the undergraduate $13,878 annual bill ($36,756, for out-of-state students) is understanding what is already paid for.

The Benefits of Campus Based Fees

According to the UC Davis Student Fee and Tuition Overview, a little over $1,500 from each student’s tuition goes to campus-based fees. This funds groups responsible for everything from renewal projects, to Unitrans, to the Student Academic Success Center (SASC) and the Memorial Union (MU).

Many of these groups offer free services to students. Undergraduates with a student ID can ride Unitrans buses for free, while the SASC offers free academic workshops to all students in Dutton Hall Monday through Friday and weekly small group tutoring in South Hall. Additionally, freshmen can take advantage of free SASC tutoring in their resident hall’s service center.

According to Luci Schmidl, Campus Recreations and Unions (CRU) director of business services and CFO, CRU is also financed primarily through campus-based fees. Seventy percent of its funding is from tuition dollars.

“CRU oversees all recreational and student life venues, so that includes everything you see while walking through the MU, Freeborn Hall, the Pavillion, the ARC, Outdoor Adventures and the Craft Center,” said John Campbell, executive director of CRU.

While the ARC, Hickey Pool and the Rec Pool are free for students, students can also sign up for additional low-cost activities such as group exercise, personalized training workouts, whitewater rafting trips and one of the nearly 100 craft center classes. Although there is a fee, Campbell said that students will always pay the least.

“We index all our prices against students. [Non-students] will never pay less than students do,” Campbell said.

In addition to discounted and free activities, CRU is also entering the final stages in planning the major Memorial Union (MU) renovation which will be completed in 2015.

“In the upcoming renewal project, the Games Area, Bookstore, ASUCD retail area and North and South Quads will be renovated and remodeled. We are updating the area to the current standards that students request and expect. We’re tearing down walls and opening up the MU,” Campbell said.

The renovations will be paid for only using the reserves that tuition has fed into for years.

“The Memorial Union fee [within the campus based fees] was enacted in 1987 and stayed the same, never subject to increase. It was $85.50 a year then, and it is now,” Schmidl said.

While tuition-funded activities, renovations, and programs provide fun and ambiance, other significant services are also covered by tuition.

The Benefits of the Student Services Fee

According to the 2012-13 Undergraduate Student Tuition and Fees Fact Sheet, the $972 Student Services Fee allows for access to a number of free or discounted physical and mental health services.

“All registered students are eligible to receive medical and mental health services on campus at the Student Health and Wellness Center and at North Hall,” said Dr. Michelle Famula, executive director of Health and Wellness in an email interview.

Free services include mental health counseling consultation, individual and group counseling services, alcohol, tobacco and drug education interventions, smoking cessation programs, a call-in advice nurse consultation and free anonymous HIV testing for any registered student, regardless of a student’s enrollment in the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP).

In addition, the Health Education Program (HEP) provides information and materials at numerous student clubs and at organizations’ events throughout the year.

Invaluable HEP information is supplied to students on the third floor of the Student Health and Wellness Center, the Women’s Resources and Research Center, the Student Community Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center and the Cross Cultural Center.

“[HEP provides tips and resources for] safe partying, fitness and nutrition, sexual health and mental wellness,” Famula said.

Additionally, HEP’s Love Lab travels to common student areas and provides condoms and sexual education materials for free.

For students concerned about their mental wellness, there are a variety of free services available.

“Many student medical and mental health self-help services are free and provided by student peers, including the Stress and Wellness services on the second floor [of North Hall] and the Mind Body Gym managed by The House,” Famula said.
The House, which is normally located in north campus near the co-ops, will be undergoing structural renovations and will be relocated to the first floor of North Hall until the building is able to reopen next year.

At The House, students can talk to a peer counselor or participate in the Mind Body Gym which offers massage chairs and relaxation space for all students. Drop-in counselling sessions with a professional are also available at the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office in North Hall.

Understanding the finer points of where tuition goes to at UC Davis can help students get the most out of their enrollment and take advantage of the services that they are funding.

“All of our activities and services are available because of student fees,” Campbell said.

HANNAH KRAMER can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


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