Student Fees: Where does your money go?

By Daniel Morales
Pulse Staff Reporter

Alamo Colleges list of fees for 2016-2017 school year. Photo by Daniel Morales
Alamo Colleges list of fees for 2016-2017 school year. Photo by Daniel Morales.

Students pay for more than tuition, books, online costs, and all the other expenses a college student racks up. But do students actually know where their money is going when it comes to these fees?

At the beginning of every school year, students are charged a variety of fees. The student activity fee is one of them. This fee charges students $1 for every credit hour they take. For instance, if you take twelve credit hours, you will be charged $12 when you pay tuition.

This semester, over 9,500 students attended Palo Alto, which totaled to $159,000 in student activities fees. The $159,000 then became the Student Life budget for the 2017-2018 school year, which is set once all the money has been collected.

That money is then budgeted into various revenue accounts. The accounts are meant to hold money for different departments, projects and clubs.

Every club at Palo Alto has access to this account and is given $500. This money is used for t-shirts, food or any other way the club sees fit. Thirty clubs at PAC at $500 a club, that adds up to $15,000. Some clubs fundraise for more money, and other clubs can ask for more money if they go over their budget.

“Although Palo Alto doesn’t have a huge budget like other schools, such as UT or A&M, I feel as if we accomplish a lot with what we are given,” said Erica Munoz, coordinator for Student Success.

Another fee students pay is the International Education fee. Students are each charged $1, and that money goes toward travel and other expenses for students who study abroad.

Another fee that every student pays is the campus fee, which is $25. This fee covers things like parking, utilities in facilities and free mass transportation. Students attending Palo Alto may receive a free VIA bus pass from the Bursar’s Office.

“Yeah I found out about that halfway through the semester. It’s a good thing, too, because I lost my other bus pass. And that’s the one I had to pay for,” said Andy Bautista, a sophomore Vet Tech major at Palo Alto College.

Students are charged the campus fee twice during each long semester, adding up to a maximum of $50 per academic year.

Students also pay for the in-district out of district fees. The fee will vary in price, depending on how many hours you take and if you live in or out of the district.

Another fee some students pay for is the 27 Hour Special Tuition. Students taking more than 27 hours of developmental education courses will be charged an additional $118 per hour for those who live in district and $176 per hour for those who live out of district.

Three-Peat Tuition is a fee for students who register for a course for the third time. They will be charged the non-Texas rate of $384 per hour.

Our money flows in and out of Palo Alto College. It pays for the free food we eat, the clubs we are a part of, and the trips some of our organizations take.