Date: March 8,
Laurie Neils has provided you an excellent summary
memorandum of proposed fee increases for FY 2003. However, there are two additional issues to which I wanted to
draw your special attention.
have doubtless read a good deal about the plan for resolving the athletic
budget difficulties at MSU – Bozeman.
Part of that resolution involves a series of increases in the
athletic fee at MSU – Bozeman. The
first of those increases is on the list of recommended fee increases for
FY 2003. I asked President Gamble
to prepare for you a brief summary of the plan to eliminate the athletic
deficit on his campus and his executive summary is attached to your agenda
materials. It is my recommendation
that you approve the increase in the athletic fee. We will also want to take care to
receive student input before making this decision.
proposals for mandatory fee increases include a request by MSU – Billings
to reinstate a mandatory library fee.
I agreed with Chancellor Sexton two years ago for a one-time
imposition of the fee. The fee was
assessed in FY 2001, but rescinded in FY 2002. I agreed on a one-time basis because the fee was strongly
supported by students and because the campus was significantly below the
Board of Regents’ guideline for 6% of budget allocated to the
library. I made it clear at the
time that I was opposed to the extension of mandatory fees to any
additional areas (such as libraries).
My fear is that we would in short order have a library fee at all
of our campuses and more of the cost of education would have been moved
from tuition (widely known, publicized, and understood) to fees (much less
widely known, publicized, and understood). Last year’s discussion of course and program fees ended in
our consensus that we wanted to move in the direction of covering more of
the cost of education by tuition with less reliance on mandatory fees.
I agreed with Chancellor Sexton to
include the library fee at MSU – Billings in the Board item, but that I would
indicate to the Regents my opposition to it.
I hope that you will devote some time to discussing this issue when fees
are under consideration and then make a decision to include or exclude the MSU
– Billings library fee. As a reminder,
when we were establishing tuition increases last May for this biennium we
included a .68% increase for improvements in our libraries. That provided MSU – Billings about $170,000
over the biennium for improvement in libraries.
I add only one further point. Mandatory fees at MSU – Billings are the
third highest of our four-year campuses, exceeded only by The University of
Montana – Missoula and Montana Tech.
Please give me a call if you have questions about these two