CU’s student-funded programs attract few participants

By Kendall Brunette

Student fees take a staggering toll on college bank accounts every semester.  The university programs funded by fee money fail to attract the very students who pay for them, exposing an alarming disparity.


Within the next few weeks, University of Colorado Boulder students will receive the dreaded email.  The subject line reads, “Your CU-Boulder tuition & fee bill is now available.”  As students begin to reach deep into their pockets and scrape clean their bank accounts, many wonder – what exactly are these mandatory fees that I have to pay?

According to the CU Bursar Office, the average undergraduate student pays approximately $800 in fees each semester.  New students and those taking extra credit hours pay even more, with some students paying over $1,000 in fees each semester.

These fees fund a variety of programs for students throughout the year.  But unless students actively take advantage of these programs, it may seem like money wasted.

Sean Cody, cooking class instructor, introduces students to the basics of baking.

This is “Ralphie’s Cooking Basics,” – one of many programs funded with student fee money and ran by the university’s Student Involvement Office.

On this day, 20 students gathered in the University Memorial Center kitchen to learn basic cooking techniques.  Cinnamon rolls were on the menu for this particular class.

Cody introduces butter as the next ingredient.

It is a full class, but 20 people is hardly representative of the 30,000 students whose fees fund this and similar programs.

Kim Kruchen is the coordinator for student involvement through the Student Involvement Office.

KIM KRUCHEN: “Some of our other programs include like, Intermission, which is an evening program that we do once a — every — the first Thursday of every month, and it’s an opportunity for students to like take a break, have some fun. It’s kind of an extended time, so it’s two hours.  So in those ones we did like an instructor-led painting last week.  We’re going to do roller skating.  Um, we have CU Late Night, so that includes like Battle of the Bands and like Poetry Slam.”

The offering of student-funded programs is vast, but the number of students who actually take advantage of such programs is small.  The situation is similar to paying $20 for dinner at an all-you-can-eat buffet – you might not actually eat the full $20 worth of food, but it is nice to have the option.

So before you start reaching into your pockets for next semester’s fee money, take an honest look at where your money is going.  You might be more inclined to set aside an hour for some cinnamon rolls – after all, you already paid for them.

Kendall Brunette for Under the Flatirons


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