Dollars and sense: Ever wonder where your tuition and fees money goes each semester?

Michelle Day

Students face a potential $70 per semester fee for renovations to Downing University Center. Should the Student Government Assocation approve the renovation project, it could be made official as soon as the April 22 Board of Regents meeting.

With that in mind, the Herald takes a look at WKU’s student fees as they relate to other universities. Though some other universities post a breakdown on their websites, WKU’s student fees system operates differently.


There are now only two mandatory student fees and three areas identified as “restricted tuition,” a term given to particularly important programs that get a specific amount of money from tuition, Bursar Belinda Higginbotham said.

But almost a decade ago, students paid about 13 different fees totaling $459 in addition to tuition.

In 2002, WKU decided to simplify the budget by lumping tuition and fees together, budget director Kim Reed said.

Now, only three of the original fees — Health Services, student technology and Student Government Association programming — get a specific amount of money from tuition, Reed said.

Each year, those three restricted tuition areas and the two mandatory fees increase based on the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), which is an inflation index based on higher education costs, she said.

The rest of the 13 areas — such as Title IX compliance and student spirit groups — still get money from the university, but it’s not necessarily from tuition money, she said.

It’s hard to say exactly what the rest of tuition pays for compared to WKU’s other revenue sources, because tuition and fees only account for 40 percent of WKU’s budget, Reed said.

State appropriations and money the university makes itself also contribute to the total money pot, among other things, she said.

In general, students’ tuition goes toward paying for faculty and staff salaries, support services such as the Counseling and Testing Center, and heating, cooling and maintenance of campus buildings, she said.


Student Athletics

Helps pay for debt from

renovation of Diddle Arena and for uniforms and travel.

WKU: $205

UK: $19

UL: $50

Student Centers

Helps pay for daily operations and staff in campus buildings.

WKU: $59

UK: $144.75 (Student Center & Johnson Center)

UL: $15 (University Facility)


Health Services

Helps pay for Health Services programming such as Passport to Wellness and expanding to regional campuses.

WKU: $40.28

UK: $175

UL: $35

SGA Programming

Helps pay for SGA’s budget and programs.

WKU: $15.54

UK: $9

UL: $12

Student Technology

Helps pay for staff and new equipment in computer lab.

WKU: $55.23

UK: $77

UL: Not listed