Senate to vote on cost, spending of differential tuition

Differential tuition fees will at least double the amount of outside funding given to UW-Eau Claire, university officials told Student Senate.

“The equation has always been these dollars help bring in other dollars,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor Ron Satz.

Differential tuition dominated the focus of Senate for the second-straight week Monday as university officials lobbied again for a differential fee increase for next year.

An increase in differential tuition, which currently costs full-time students $50 per semester and produces about $1 million a year, would be a first time occurrence.

The influence differential tuition has on funding, such as federal grants and private donations, is it makes outside sources more confident of investing in the school, Satz said.

Satz and Bob Bolles, academic affairs budget officer, showed Senate the financial breakdown of differential tuition, explaining how a fee increase would help the university’s programs.

In May 1996 Eau Claire became the first school in the country to create such a student fee. Differential tuition has made a big difference to the university in a variety of ways, Satz said.

Alumni hear a lot today about the school’s image, Satz said, especially its nationally-recognized faculty and student collaborative research program, which receives 30 to 35 percent of differential fees.

There are now about 500 research projects involving all departments, Satz said.

The close to $950,000 differential fee budget also funds first-year-experience classes (25 to 30 percent), practical experiences and internships (15 to 20 percent), capstone (10 to 15 percent) and service learning (10 to 15 percent).

Since the student differential fee amount has never changed, Satz said, the same amount of money funds less than it did a few years ago.

More projects could be funded if there are higher differential fees, he said.

These fees help keep Eau Claire at the top of the college ranking lists, he said.

“More importantly,” Satz told senators, “this is what helps make the difference in students’ careers.”

Senate President Andy Oettinger told senators after they receive the Academic Affairs Committee’s proposal, they will vote in May on the fee level and to where the funding will go.