University moves ahead with new infrastructure fee proposal

Interim+Provost+Shirley+Lefever+gave+the+Student+Senate+an+update+on+the+new+infrastructure+fee+proposal+at+Wednesday%27s+Student+Government+meeting.

Interim Provost Shirley Lefever gave the Student Senate an update on the new infrastructure fee proposal at Wednesday’s Student Government meeting.

Wichita State is moving forward with its new infrastructure fee proposal, Interim Provost Shirley Lefever said during the Student Government Association meeting Wednesday.

Lefever first spoke to SGA in March and brought up two possible proposals that would replace the online fee. 

The first model would increase the infrastructure fee the same amount, no matter what college. The second model increases the infrastructure fee by $13.00 and gives colleges flexibility to tailor their own fees dependent on what that college needs. Lefever said after hearing feedback from students, they decided to go forward with the second option.

“Students really wanted a fee that would allow them to better predict what their bills would be from semester to semester,” Lefever said.

The new infrastructure fee is intended to replace the current $97.25 online fee.

Lefever said that the proposals came about after hearing complaints from students about the burden of the extra cost.

The university has seen a rise in students taking online classes. This rise was not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lefever said.

“While we often think this was the result of the pandemic, this rise actually started in the fall of 2019,” Lefever said.

In the fall of 2015, 36.2% of students were enrolled in an online course. In 2019, the university saw a raise of 14.8% to 51%. In the fall of 2020, 52.7% of WSU students are enrolled in one or more online courses.

The new fee structure would generate the same amount of revenue that is collected currently through online fees.

“The proposal to replace the online fee with the increase in the infrastructure fee is intended to generate the same dollar amount,” Lefever said. 

The proposal has to be approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in order to go into effect. Lefever said they plan to take the proposal to KBOR during the board’s May meeting.