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Board of Trustees approves mandatory student fee reductions, Summer Session tuition increases

Student fees will see reduction of $47.79 for spring quarter

An illustration with a wallet, dollar and cent signs, and the words, “Where did my tuition go?†referencing Western Washington University Board of Trustees’ approval of increased summer session 2021 tuition rates. // Illustration by Sophia Lindstrom

By Sophia Pappalau

On Feb. 12, Western Washington University’s Board of Trustees approved action items concerning mandatory student fees and tuition as Western remains primarily a remote teaching and learning environment.

The unanimously passed proposals included a reduction of spring quarter mandatory student fees, a reduction of the Human Services degree program self-sustaining tuition and fee rate and an increase in Summer Session 2021 tuition.

According to the reduction proposal, fees would be reduced by $47.79 or 8% from those previously set by the Board of Trustees for the current school year. 

Faye Gallant, Western’s executive director of budget and financial planning, said these savings would be passed on to students.

Decreases will be applied to the Services and Activities Fee, the Student Technology Fee, the Sustainability, Equity and Justice Fund Fee, the Student Alternative Transportation Fee and the Legislative Action Fee. 

The Student Recreation Fee, the Student Health Services Fee, the Non-Academic Building Fee, and the Multicultural Center Fee will see no decrease. 

“The reduction is slightly less than fall quarter and slightly more than in the winter quarter,” Gallant said. “That just reflects the updates and learning of each committee and an understanding that in fall quarter there was perhaps a greater capacity to pass things on.”

The next action item on the agenda concerned Summer Session 2021 mandatory fees and tuition. 

The Board approved the recommended tuition. Resident undergraduate and graduate tuition will rise from $267 and $338 per credit to $274, and $346 per credit, respectively, while non-resident undergraduate and graduate tuition will increase from $427 and $500 per credit to $436 and $508 per credit, respectively. 

The MBA program’s tuition rates are estimated not to exceed the academic year’s approved rates of $401 per credit for resident graduates and $998 for non-residents. Student tuition will be charged on a per-credit basis for summer session.

It was further moved that the board approved mandatory fees for summer 2021. For Bellingham in-person courses, total fees amount to $511.63. Other summer session courses, including classes approved as regular online courses and other location face-to-face courses, total fees amount to $151.92.

“[The fee proposal] has been following the same process for identifying fees for winter and spring,” said Robert Squires, vice provost for Outreach and Continuing Education. “The reductions identified there are consistent with the reductions that we just discussed.”

The board also approved the reduction of the Human Services degree program self-sustaining tuition and fee rate from $327 per credit to $272 per credit.

The Human Services online degree program primarily serves students on the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas, Squires said. 

According to the proposal, the move of all other undergraduate peninsula programs to state-funding in 2020 resulted in distance learning students on the peninsulas paying a premium for an equivalent program. The difference in cost between the 75-credit state-supported program in Bellingham and the distance learning program on the peninsulas is approximately $10,000. 

The proposal reduces the gap in cost between the state-supported, location-based programs in Bellingham and Everett and the self-sustaining distance learning program, President Sabah Randhawa said.


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