Surprising fees located in student tuition: Current students held accountable for price of Student Life Pavilion

By Brittany Carava


Whether a student pays attention to the fine print of their college tuition is their personal choice but as of lately, hidden fees within school tuition are starting to irk USD students. Log on to MySanDiego and students will find a laundry list of varying fees for tuition, healthcare and student facilities. What may be surprising is the “Student Life Pavilion Fee,”  a $140 yearly fee that is charged to student accounts.

This is now revealed as a charge that the University tacks on as a fee that students voted on before the creation of the SLP. When asked for a description of the SLP fee, Cynthia Avery, Assistant Vice President of Student Life said, “This fee was approved by students in support of the construction of the SLP.”

Going back to 2006 in the school’s records, it was announced that the Hahn University Center would be renovated and expanded to include the SLP. The total cost of the SLP’s construction was over $31 million and was funded by a bond, gifts and student fees. According to a 2008 issue of USD Magazine, in a student vote, 76 percent of the university population was in agreement to a raise in the student fees to fund the SLP project.

The student fee was the main component in order for this project to be completed. According to an official statement from the university, “The fee was determined by the amount of student space added 30 percent of the expansion was allocated for student space. The expansion to food service, retail and administration office was not factored into the fee. Retail and food additions will be self-funded.” Student spaces including Frank’s Lounge, the seating areas near Tu Mercado, and the student organization spaces on the third and fourth floors of the SLP were added to help create a more cohesive environment for students to study and relax.

This fee is not to be confused with the Associated Students fee which “allocates monies to the functions of AS (AS Programming, Women’s Center, CASA, United Front and other organizations),” as stated in the official project bulletin distributed by the university. The SLP fee is strictly for supporting the cost of the expansion and renovation of the UC.

The SLP fee not only affects current students, but students for generations to come. The fee is set at $70 per semester for 40 years from the construction date 2006. Some students don’t believe the separate cost is necessary. “I think they are separating their costs a little too much. Shouldn’t tuition cover all the costs of running a university?,” junior Alexis Rogers said. “I appreciate the SLP as much as the next girl, but I didn’t decide to build it. Why am I paying for it?”

Additionally, some Toreros don’t agree with this fee as they feel the description isn’t clear on their account. “Hidden fees are deceitful,” senior Shannon Palka said. “I’m taking loans out for myself that will affect my financial future and it’s frustrating to not always know where my money is going.”

Although USD has a better tuition breakdown than some other universities, students agree that a more detailed breakdown with explanations would be better to ensure that everyone knew where their money was going when they sent in their payments to the university.