Friday, March 27, 2009

Amount of student fees unknown to students

OU student Cole Ford browses the political journals in OU's Bizzell Library. Ford said he uses the journals that are supported by students fees all the time to write essays for classes.

While students pay a long list of fees every semester, some students admit they do not know what these fees support.

According to OU's Tuition Estimator located on both the OU and Office of the Bursar's official website, the average undergraduate student pays $121.10 in fees per credit hour for lower division classes. In addition, each college has a specific technology fee and the university requires all students to pay a list of five fees for every semester.

"I'll have to admit that I really am unaware to all the fees I'm paying and where they go," said Cole Ford, political science and English sophomore.

And while David Boren said tuition will not be increasing next semester, representatives and public relations officers from the Office of the Bursar, OU Libraries and OU Health Services said they were not sure if fees would be increasing next semester.

The technology fees are based per college and range anywhere from $5.00 in the College of Arts and Sciences to $30.00 in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Earth and Energy, according to the Office of the Bursar's fee statement on their website.

On top of credit hour and technology fees, the list of mandatory fees for both the fall and spring semester adds up to $176.50 for each semester. After these fees, there are also certain fees administered by each separate college per credit hour or per course a student takes from that college.

Some students say they are aware of fees, but not the full extent of fees and how many different fees they are paying.

“I knew I was paying fees, but I didn’t know there were so many different ones,” said Jainelle Daniels, University College freshman. “I’ll admit it is probably because my parents handle it all, but I really had no idea, and I think that is wrong.”

In the list of mandatory fees, the “Library Excellence fee” is $11.00 per credit hour. This fee supports library staffing, acquisitions of books and documents, and subscriptions to scholarly journals, both online and physical copies, according to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Bursar's website.

“We have access to more than 250 databases, and these provide access to a wealth of information students may not be aware are available,” said Sarah Robins, officer of public relations for OU Libraries. “We [also] have databases that provide full-text journal and newspaper articles, scores for classical music, and primary sources from the 18th and 19th century as well as streaming theater and dance productions.”

While some students are unaware of these benefits, Ford said he makes use of the journals frequently for political science essays and other homework assignments.

“I probably go to the library on an average of four times per week,” Ford said. “I make use of the library fee. It seems like a bargain to me.”

OU Health Services charges a mandatory fee of $74.00 for both the fall and spring semesters, as well as $37.00 for the summer.

OUHS offers a variety of services to help meet the health care needs of the college-aged student,” said Maggie Pool, OU Health Services promotion coordinator. “The medical clinic staff consists of board-certified, licensed physicians, physician assistants and medical assistants offering a full spectrum of care in family medicine, sports medicine, and disease prevention and treatment.”

Pool also said physicians and registered nurses issue test results, refill prescriptions, give free flu shots and offer a lot of advice on medical questions and there are also registered dietitians who are available by appointment for students. The health fee provides all of this at a cheaper price then around the community.

“I didn’t know about it, but I used Goddard all the time last semester when I got really sick,” Daniels said. “They gave me prescriptions and they did a great job and saved me from having to go to the 24-hour clinic which takes forever.”

Ford said he never has been to Goddard, but is glad that the services exist.

“I really haven’t had anything more than a cold while I’m here and they really can’t help me with that,” said Ford. “But I am glad that I know it is there when I do need it.”

All of these services and many more are available to all students. Both Pool and Robbins said the fees their branch charges provides services for students and do not support renovations to OU’s campus.

“Some of the fees seem alright, but I really wish OU would do a better job of letting us know what we are paying,” said Daniels. “Some of the fee titles sound very vague to me. I wish they would reevaluate all the fees to see if all of them are necessary and make the Bursar website less confusing.”

Ford said he was also unaware of the plethora of fees and does not know if he uses every single one.

“Some of them sound alright,” said Ford. “I have never had them explained to me before though. I honestly don’t really know if they are all reasonable or not.”

Below are some of Ford and Daniels' comments on student fees.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sooners sent off by students to Sweet 16

Men's basketball coach Jeff Capel walks to the buses as students and cheerleaders cheer on the team.

OU students sent off the men's basketball team to Memphis to take on Syracuse this afternoon.

Many students and people of the Norman community gathered at the south end of the Lloyd Noble Center to cheer on the team as they got on the buses to head to Memphis to play in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

The Sooners will be playing the Syracuse Orange, a potent three seed team led by two guards; sophomore Johnny Flynn and junior Eric Devendorf. The Orange also bring an effective 2-3 zone defense to the court, which will most likely be focused on stopping OU's Player of the Year candidate Blake Griffin.

"I think that there wasn't a good turnout because it wasn't advertised as much," said Kristen Crabtree, accounting and finance freshman. "But it was really cool seeing the players and getting to send them off towards victory."

Click play to hear Crabtree's thoughts on the Sweet 16 matchup

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New grant to benefit College of Education students

A new grant program created by Congress could give significant financial assistance to students who plan to become teachers.

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program can permit grants to students for up to $4,000 per year.

The grant is intended for those students who plan to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary education schools that serve low-income families. In order to receive the grant, a student must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high need field.

"The TEACH grant is nice," said Lauren Appleyard, elementary education sophomore. "But, to me, it just isn't worth the the commitment to teach in a low-income area."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jewish fraternity to join IFC

A traditionally Jewish fraternity will now be available for young men to pledge through formal rush.

Alpha Epsilon Pi is currently not a part of any Greek council and will become the eighteenth fraternity of the Interfraternity Council by the end of the semester. The international fraternity is based on Jewish platforms and participates in Jewish life on campus.

"We typically have a hard time finding Jewish students," said Isaac Freeman, chapter president. "Hopefully we will gain publicity by joining IFC so that Jewish students can find us."

Incoming freshmen and current OU students will be able to apply for Fall Rush 2009 beginning June 1. Those interested may sign up at once enrollment opens up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Safe break emphasizes Spring break safety

A social event will take place this week in order to inform students about how to stay safe during Spring break.

The event, Safe Break, is sponsored by the Panhellenic Association and has been held annually since the death of OU student Lisa Weider while she was on Spring break several years ago. Weider's parents attend the event to speak of their own experiences and how students themselves can stay safe.

"I feel that it is important for students to come to Safe Break," said Sarah Williams, political science sophomore. "I think that [students] kind of forget that there is a reality outside of Spring break there are consequences for their actions."

Safe Break will take place Wednesday at 6:30 in front of the Delta Delta Delta sorority house. It is a free event and will offer refreshments and music as well as the speaking by the Weiders.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

New building offers a lot to students

The brand new Lissa and Cy Wagner Hall offers a nice study area among other things to students. The building is located dead north of the Oklahoma University football stadium.

The new Lissa and Cy Wagner Hall addition to OU's campus is providing students with many valuable assets.

"It has quickly become my favorite place to study," said Emily White, psychology sophomore.

The new building has been specified as the official University College building and replaces the old building across from the Oklahoma Memorial Student Union. The new building was completed earlier this year and has become available to students for the first time this semster.

Wagner Hall offers counselors and private study rooms that can be reserved ahead of time among other things. The study rooms are luxurious and even have keypads that let a person know if the room is occupied, said White.

Click play to hear White go into more detail about her thought of the new Wagner Hall.

Parking at OU among cheapest in Big XII

While parking permits at OU may seem expensive, they are actually the cheapest in the conference, with students at other universities paying over $600.

UOSA has discovered OU's parking permits for the 2008-2009 school year are the cheapest in the Big XII and are not expected to rise in the future.

Currently, OU's commuter parking passes are $73.20 for a permit that will expire on May 15th. In comparison, a garage permit for commuters at the University of Texas is $602, while a similar permit at Kansas State will cost a student $150.

"It really is good to know," said Tiffany Stimson, elementary education sophomore. "A lot of people get frustrated about parking, and it is just nice to know that we have it better than other places."

Better yet, the permit prices are estimated to not being raised next year, according to Kris Glenn, public relations for the Parking and Transportation office.

To hear more on Stimson's views, press play.