A $20 parking fee was expected to be approved at a recent University System of Georgia's Board of Regents meeting; however, final approval was made back in November by KSU's Student Fee Committee, composed of students, faculty and staff members.
University officials initially sought to gain final approval by the regents, but because parking is an elective fee and not mandatory, the regents did not have to vote on it. The increase becomes effective in August and the shuttle system has already begun preliminary operations.
"The fee increase was sent to the Board of Regents to enable KSU to be transparent in its internal decision-making," said Dr. Jerome Ratchford, KSU vice president for student success.
With annual enrollment increases, parking is badly needed on the campus of more than 23,000 students.
Under the new transportation plan, commuter students who opt to park off-campus and use the shuttle service can now park at Town Center at Cobb mall or Town Point off Chastain Road, totaling about 1,064 spaces. As a perk for doing so, they'll have their $70 permit fee reduced by $50 if they park at Town Point and will not pay a permit fee if they park at the mall, according to KSU.
Those who opt to park on campus will pay the new parking fee of $130, which includes the permit fee.
The planned shuttle route will include stops at the university's dining all and KSU Center. About three Groome Transportation shuttle buses will depart every 10 to 18 minutes, beginning at 7 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
According to the Student Fee Committee, the cost of the long-term shuttle operation is budgeted at $844,000 for Fiscal Year 2012, which will support a shuttle operation for this fall and next spring.
In addition, the regents have approved a $36 per semester increase in KSU's student recreation and wellness fee, of which $1 will become effective this fall and $35 will be effective in fall 2012.
The fee will support construction of a new student recreation and activity center. A completion date has not been set as plans are just now unfolding, said Ratchford. He said the university is hopeful that the project will be funded by its fundraising arm, the KSU Foundation.
"The early approval of the $35 was necessary for the bond issuance in support of the project," said Usha Ramachandran, USG vice chancellor for fiscal Affairs.
Ronald Wilson, KSU's student government president, supports the fee increases. He was not a member of the Student Fee Committee when it approved the parking fee increase.
"I feel that the parking and recreation fee is needed to support the rapid growth and infrastructure of KSU," said Wilson, a rising senior.
"Several fees did disappear this year, and will somewhat ease the monetary burdens of KSU students. I currently pay out-of-state tuition and will only support fees that students support or need to have the best possible education and college experience. I can proudly state that KSU will still have one of the lowest student fees in the University System of Georgia this upcoming fall."
At it's April meeting, regents also approved a $100 special institutional fee increase for public colleges to help address the state budget cuts. The fee increases at KSU from $165 to $265, said Ramachandran.
The fee goes into institutions' general funds.
Therefore, KSU students will be paying a total of $774 in various, mandatory fees beginning this fall, and an additional $35 the following year, to total $809. That does not include the elective parking fee. Currently, the mandatory fees total $673.
This fall, KSU full-time students will pay $2,367 per semester in in-state tuition. Tuition will be $2,564 this fall at Southern Polytechnic State University.