Worcester State University Charges Students Pedestrian Fee

merry band of teenagers. urban...
merry band of teenagers. urban...

If you want to walk on the campus of Worcester State University in Massachusetts, it's going to cost you.

Whether students at WSU drive or walk to class, each one of them is hit with an annual $72 "parking/pedestrian access fee," the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports.

Officials said the controversial fee is necessary to help maintain sidewalks, in absence of adequate state support.

“When you only have a certain amount of money coming from the state, unfortunately the only way to make it work is through fees," John Brissette, chairman of the Worcester State Board of Trustees, told the Telegram & Gazette.

The school first began collecting a pedestrian fee in 2010. Prior to that year, WSU only charged an elective parking fee of $120 maximum per year.

Students who do drive to campus complain that despite the fees they pay, finding parking is a bit of a challenge. The Telegram & Gazette reported part of the reason is due to construction on campus, including a new $45 million athletic complex, new dorms and full-scale library renovation.

Fees have become a popular way for public colleges to make up for state appropriation declines.

Charging students to register their automobile or bicycle is typical, and so are fees for health services and internet access. But smaller fees also show up on semester bills which often aren't subject to the same scrutiny as tuition.

West Texas A&M University, for example, charges a $1 per semester "Traffic Safety Fee" which goes toward maintaining and repair campus traffic controls. Western Illinois University charges a "Talent Grant Fee."

Going to the University of Oklahoma? They'll hit you with a "Security Services Fee" to help fund campus police.

The University of Indiana recently started charging a "Temporary Repair and Rehabilitation Fee" to fund repairs to air conditioning and replacing smoke detectors, and students at Iowa State University are paying an extra $107 fee over two decades to fund renovations to one of two campus athletic centers.