By Rebecca Panico | Published June 28, 2016
Kean University’s Board of Trustees approved Monday a 2.5 percent — or a $289 — tuition and fee increase for the upcoming school year and also raised another late fee.
Any student who registers for classes after July 28, the payment due date, will be charged $105. Anyone registering on the first day of class, Sept. 1, will have to pay a $210 late fee. The old late registration fee for those who registered on or after the first day of class was $55.
The new fees “are not meant to be punitive,” explained Kean’s spokeswoman Margaret McCorry after the vote. The university found that students who registered late rarely did so because of financial problems, but rather, they didn’t seek timely advisement, she said.
“It’s Kean’s hope that they will seek advisement,” she said, adding that timely registration will eventually allow the university to assign professors to classes more quickly — a complaint among students and faculty. It’s unclear when that change will take effect.
The newest late fee increase is in addition to the fees that were imposed at May’s trustees meeting, which allowed the university to charge $50 up to four times a semester to any student who owes more than $200 to the university.
The state Comptroller’s Office recently audited Kean and two other public universities and called for clearer guidelines — beyond trustees resolutions and bylaws — when raising student fees. Kean said their trustees resolutions are clear enough, but the resolution which raised late fees in May omitted several important facts.
Additionally, the board approved a $289 tuition and fee increase for the upcoming school year. Tuition was increased by $189, while only one fee went up by $100. That fee, the capital improvement fee, is used for debt and to fund renovation and construction projects costing $500,000 or more that are not funded by bonds.
Tuition and fees at Kean for a full-time, in-state student who commutes now costs $11,869, up from $11,580 last year. This year’s tuition and fee increase is less than last year’s, which went up by 3 percent, or $337.
The trustees also approved a 20 percent tuition and fee discount for law enforcement agencies that guarantee to enroll a minimum of 15 students in degree and certificate programs in the College of Business and Public Management.
There are exceptions to the newest late fee increase. Any student who applies to the university and is accepted after July 28 will not be penalized. Kean has rolling admissions, so it’s possible, but rare, that Kean would accept a student after July 28, Trustees Executive Director Audrey Kelly told The Tower after the meeting.
Students enrolled in a monthly tuition payment plan will not need tuition paid in full by July 28, but should be enrolled in such a plan by the payment due date to avoid any penalties.
Emails went out to students on April 8 and June 22 notifying them of the late fees, pending the board’s approval.
The email in June specified that students registering or making a registration adjustment after July 28 will be given an opportunity to fulfill financial obligations within two days before classes are dropped.
Nigel Donald, the former Student Organization president who recently announced that he will be an alternate student trustee, sat in on a committee known as the Presidential Task Force on Scheduling, where late fees were discussed before the trustees vote, Kean’s spokeswoman said.
Donald was not at Monday’s trustees meeting, but did attend last week’s tuition hearing.
Meanwhile, former Alternate Student Trustee Christian Meyers was officially installed as a voting student trustee. He replaces Abby Gallego, who will no longer serve since she graduated.
The next trustees meeting will be on Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. in Kean Hall.