Each term of college comes with its own version of sticker shock: tuition, living expenses, books, transportation and the dreaded “student fees,” a large and mysterious sum that appears on each student’s quarterly statement.
According to the glossary of the Oregon University System, student fees are the total, mandatory charges assessed to each student for enrolling in the institution. The amount of student fees assessed is based on the number of credits taken.
Student fees are not optional: every student must pay them. But with an understanding of the fee schedule and how it works, students can at least make the system work for them.
Technology or “Tech” Fees
Technology fees support all types of computing and internet technology within the university.
Take advantage of PSU’s free student “pdx.edu” web mail account. To get one, you must create an “Odin” account, which will open the door to internet access, campus computer labs and disk space for personal files and web pages. An Odin account also allows access to PSU’s computerized record system, where you can manage your student records, class schedule and more.
You can even use PSU as your internet service provider; students are allowed up to five hours of free dial-up each day, with a maximum of 90 minutes per session.
If you have a WiFi-enabled laptop, you can surf the internet from just about any place on the PSU campus, thanks to wide coverage by the PSU wireless internet environment.
By signing up for web-only classes – administered via WebCT – you can participate in PSU classes without ever leaving your home. WebCT-based classes cost the same as any other PSU class; since the service is part of your technology fee, there are no additional charges.
Computer labs are available around PSU. With lab computers, you can work on homework assignments, access the internet, check your e-mail or participate in online learning through WebCT. You can print out 1,000 pages per term from lab printers.
With your Odin account, you can use any computer – on campus or off – to access the university library and its services, including its lists and databases of books and periodicals.
Instruction fees support the PSU education and general budget.To take advantage of these fees, attend classes – you’re paying tuition and fees, after all. To have the best chance of getting the classes you’re most interested in, register as soon as possible. The registration schedule is posted in the printed schedules for each term.
Take as much advantage of available scholarly opportunities as possible. Meet with your professors. Get involved in optional class activities, on-site lectures and extra-credit options.
Health Service (Student Health) Fees
All students enrolled in nine or more credit hours automatically pay the Student Health Fee. The fee covers basic health insurance, dental benefits and access to all the services provided by the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC). If you are taking nine or more credits, basic medical and dental care is available to you for a small co-payment. Some services – such as flu shots – are free.
For a modest price, you can also enroll in an extended plan that provides additional coverage to you and your dependants. For details, see the SHAC web site at http://www.shac.pdx.edu/insurance/.
Students taking four to eight credits per term may elect to pay the Student Health Fee and purchase the extended plan. They will then have full access to the above services.
Incidental fees support student groups, student organization, sports and the Peter Stott Center. The seven-member Student Fee Committee allocates the student portion of the fees. Take advantage by getting involved in student organizations – no matter what your interests are, there’s a group for you. Getting involved in groups like the SFC is a powerful way of influencing student life at PSU.
Building fees are used to maintain the buildings, grounds and facilities at PSU. Be sure to use the buildings and grounds – they’re there for you! Picnic on the Park Blocks. Hop the Portland streetcar at the Urban Center stop. Enjoy the flowers and landscaping. Use the sky bridges to walk above the traffic.
Find a good place to study – Smith and Cramer Halls have a myriad of nooks and crannies where one can hit the books in a comfortable setting. The urban studies buildings have great rooftop patios. The Millar library includes rooms that can be reserved by study groups.
A few departments – including engineering, business administrations, fine arts and performing arts – have programmatic resource fees, varying from $50-$350 per term. If your major falls within these departments, work with your advisor to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the fees.