August 10, 2014

Universities should dump regressive student athletic fees

Reducing or eliminating costly fees for athletic programs, or what’s being called a regressive tax on students, should be a priority for colleges and universities, but it’s not.

College students have enough financial worries without being assessed costly fees for athletic programs.

Yet that continues to happen despite schools cashing in on multimillion-dollar TV contracts for sports. In an analysis of public schools in the Big 12 and Southeastern conferences, The Star found that a majority of athletic departments in both conferences received more than a million dollars in student fee subsidies in 2012-2013

Reducing or eliminating what’s being called a regressive tax on students should be a priority, but it’s not. The University of Kansas responded to a reduction in its student fee subsidy by selling some of the best student seats for men’s basketball at Allen Fieldhouse to donors. The school also raised the price of student football and men’s basketball ticket packages to make up for the $350,000 in lost revenue.

Keep in mind that KU had a record $93.11 million in athletic revenue for the 2012-2013 financial year. That included $1.1 million in subsidies from student fees and $1.7 million in direct support from the university.

The unnecessary athletic fees add to students’ financial burden. Of about 20 million Americans in college each year, about 12 million borrow money. The average four-year graduate is saddled with $26,000 to $29,000 in loans.

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