Honors College fee part of an emerging pattern


Andrew Henderson

The Issue: The Honors College recently implemented a new student membership fee starting this semester.

Our Stance: The Honors College has become the second college on campus to implement a college-wide fee, which sets an unsettling precedent for students. It is concerning that other colleges could also implement fees especially in light of our recent tuition increase.

Earlier this summer, the Herald reported that the Honors College would being implementing a new membership fee for the college starting with this year’s freshman class.

The fee will be $180 a semester for freshman students and will decrease by $20 for every year the student is at WKU.

Craig Cobane, executive director of the Honors College, said the fee was indicative that the Honors College had become worthy enough of a membership fee due to the national awards and accolades the college had received in past years.

While this may hold true, the fact is, the Honors College has become the second college on campus to implement a college-wide fee which sets an unsettling precedent for students.

Last fall, the Gordon Ford College of Business implemented a $15 fee per credit hour for every class housed in the business college.

In an interview with the Herald in regards to the business college fee, Gordon Emslie, the former provost and vice president for academic affairs, said that fee would go toward providing services for students and making faculty selection more competitive.

In contrast, in an interview with a Herald reporter, Cobane said the money from the fee would go toward “minority, need-based and financial need scholarships, as well as the creation of more honors courses for students to take.”

While the fees of the respective colleges clearly serve different purposes, it is alarming that other colleges may also implement fees, especially in light of the university’s recent budget cuts and tuition hike.

And we are not the only ones concerned about the possibility of new fees.

Last Thursday, members of the editorial board sat down with the university’s administrative council to discuss the year ahead.

David Lee, the current provost and vice president for academic affairs, voiced his concerns about other colleges implementing new fees on the back of students and is open to new possibilities of funding in order to avoid that kind of situation.

This is a promising statement coming from the provost, especially since the university’s budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year now places tuition and fees as making up 50.9 percent of the revenue for the university.

This is essentially translating to students carrying the burden of almost more than half of the university’s operations.

While we recognize the fees may have been needed for both colleges in some capacity, there’s too large a looming cloud over the heads of students that shouldn’t be there.

Is Potter College of Arts and Letters next? Or perhaps the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences?

Yes, budget cuts and a loss of state money affects us all on different levels. But continuing to place increased financial pressure for students to push is going to break our backs sooner or later.