Few students, even those who attend relatively low-cost institutions such as Appalachian State University, would like to see the costs of college rise.
Unfortunately, cuts to the university have necessitated some changes. Appalachian’s Board of Trustees voted Dec. 13 to raise the university’s fees by $531 for in-state, on-campus students, according to an article in The Appalachian.
The additional fees are intended to cover new AppalCART routes and changes to residence halls.
I think any reasonable person can see that it is often necessary to pay more in order to get the benefit of increased services. But we should examine the factors that have lead to this fee increase to see if they are actually necessary, and warrant the cost.
Athletics is one such factor, which is contributing to the increase in the form of athletics and athletic facilities debt services, according to a breakdown of the fee increases. The combined increase for these purposes is $66 of the total $531.
It is understandable that we would incur additional costs given that we are moving into the Sun Belt this year. For all the benefits that will come from this move, there will also be costs, including the $600,000 Appalachian must pay for leaving the Southern Conference, according to the March 26, 2013, edition of The Appalachian. The costs of entering the Sun Belt is $1 million, according to the News & Observer.
Additionally, the athletic budget is set to increase from $16 million to $20 million, according to the News & Observer.
Overall, I believe the added prestige that moving into the conference would give us does justify this move.
Athletic Director Charlie Cobb has said that the costs for the change will be paid for in a number of ways, including Sun Belt revenue sharing, ticket price increases, fund raising, as well as the increases in student fees, according to the News & Observer.
When taken in the context of the fee increase, the cost is relatively small. The $66 of fee increases going to athletics are relatively small in comparison to the $531 in total fee increases.
At the same time we should be careful to see that there is accountability in how the money is spent.
Both athletes and the athletic program should be examined to ensure that we only spend as much as we need to for the program.
Right now, I do not believe we have much of a problem. Any change in conference would require some additional contributions and the ones called for in so far have been fairly modest.
As we move further in the conference change process, we should be mindful to see that the costs to the university are reasonable and do not place an unnecessary burden on students.
Griffin, a sophomore journalism major from Madison, is an opinion writer.