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UNLV student creates petition opposing tuition surcharges

Surcharges vary by Nevada colleges
Posted at 5:17 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 22:15:29-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Paying more for less. That’s how some college students are feeling after seeing their tuition go up as local colleges and universities transition to online learning.

There will continue to be empty breezeways on UNLV’s campus with nearly all students doing remote learning. And many students will be paying the same amount of money or more to attend.

“It’s frustrating. I think it’s what really motivated me to make the petition," said Madison Scinta, a UNLV senior.

She says she's not alone about not being happy to see a surcharge added to her tuition. Scinta created an online petition and it attracted more than 2,000 student signatures.

UNLV is adding a $6 fee per credit for undergraduates and an $8 dollar per credit fee for graduate students.

“This surcharge seems really unfair, especially, when so many students are struggling already,” Scinta said.

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UNLV says the surcharge was approved by the Nevada System of Higher Education in July for all public colleges and universities. It’s meant to address state budget cuts caused by the pandemic.

The university says in response, it’s putting forth a $50 reduction for the student life facilities fee for the fall and spring to help offset some costs. And says it understands it’s difficult for students and families.

Scinta acknowledges the university didn’t choose to implement the fees but says it can do more to support its students.

“I think it would be good for UNLV to communicate more with the students and let them know where all this money is going to and to lower the student life fee even more to offset the surcharge,” she said.

Nevada State College is adding a $5 fee per credit for all students, and community colleges like College of Southern Nevada will have a $3 fee per credit.

Vickie Shields, provost and executive vice president at Nevada State College, says the money will offset some costs with keeping the campus clean.

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“At Nevada State College, it’s about three million dollars we’ve had to put in for sanitation and for all of the things related to COVID to make it safe for students to return,” Shields said.

She also says fees like the building and technology fees will remain in place as students will be able to get onto the campus to study or attend certain labs for their classes.

“We know it’s important and we have a lot of students that don’t have a great study environment in their homes. So, there will be study spaces for them just to come,” Shields said.

She says she also understands the frustrations of all college students and says she feels for them.

“We want them to stay in school because that’s the best way to lift our whole community up, to keep our education going,” Shields said.