Unexpected and Unused Class Fee

Samantha Mathewson

Music and sound recording major Jordan Roy was advised to take Computers and Their Applications to fulfill the university’s Core Competency 3. However, this was done without being fully informed about what the class entailed, Roy claims.

It wasn’t the classwork that troubled Roy; it was the $240 fee he saw no justification for. “I didn’t originally choose the class, it was put into my schedule by my first year advisor. As an incoming freshman, I trusted her and didn’t change it,” he said.

Because there is a steep fee associated with taking this course, but no lab time, Roy emailed the head of the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science department, Ali Golbazi, to ask him where his money is going.

“The fee you are referring to is not a lab fee, but the Engineering Differential Fee. This fee paid by engineering students supports the upkeep and replacement of expensive equipment that is used in engineering courses. While a specific class may not use a lab, over the duration of their programs all engineering students use many sophisticated pieces of equipment,” said Golbazi in response.

Roy responded, “So just to clarify, we, as non-engineering students, pay $240 for equipment we don’t get to use, all because of a class we take to fulfill a core competency?” in which Golbazi again replied, “yes.”

In order to fulfill Core Competency 3, most students take one of the two classes that do not have a pre-requisite.

“Currently, there are over 300 students enrolled in Computers and Their Applications. This is a basic introductory course to computers and does not require a pre-requisite. It is taught in a lecture hall or Dodds theater through Powerpoint slideshows,” explained Roy. “I feel this fee is unreasonable. Why do the engineering students get other students to pay for their equipment? The music department has plenty of high tech equipment, especially in the studios where I will spend most of my time. There is no such fee for music courses that fulfill core competencies. It just isn’t fair. If it were for all departments, it would be a different story, but this is just not okay.”

Most students enrolled in Computers and Their Applications are not engineering students taking this for their degree, and they are all paying for equipment they will not use.

“If [students] are okay with paying this, then go right ahead, but I know some people will appreciate this knowledge,” said Roy.