Solution in sight for confusing course fees

By Editorial Board

As students make their way through the complicated process of registering for the fall semester and allocating funds for tuition and fees, Columbia administration has, thankfully, decided to make things a little less stressful.

Thanks to repeated pushing by the Student Government Association, administrators finally took the initiative to make things easier for students, starting with satisfying a long overdue need to evaluate the cost of course fees.

As reported in the March 30 issue of The Chronicle, students will be greeted with a new course fee system starting fall 2009. The new system would charge every class within a department with the same flat fee, instead of applying different fees to each class.

Still, a few issues with the new system could be cause for concern. While the new system is certainly a lot easier to understand than the one that exists currently, the shuffling of money can be a bit confusing.

For those in the Film and Video Department, students will be required to pay $115 per course regardless if the class requires use of materials or is simply a lecture course. If a cap on course fees is enforced, many students wonder if there is a chance that the quality of courses will, in turn, suffer.

While it’s hard to predict the success of the new course fee system before it even goes into effect, one thing the administration could do is consider making the new information more accessible.

By posting the new fee breakdown on OASIS, e-mailing students or even putting it on Columbia’s website, there would essentially be no way that anyone would be left out of the loop.

Though the new system simply moves money around, we applaud the administration for creating a new system that is easy to understand.

More importantly, we are thankful that the SGA has worked so tirelessly to make the voices of the student body heard.

The process of allowing more transparency in course fees is something that has been years in the making, and it’s good to know that both students and administrators are taking it seriously.

As for predicting whether or not the solution will be a success—only time will tell.