Gotcha: Schools copying airlines’ nickel & diming …

In recent years, airlines nave become masters at “unbundled pricing” … offering a low base fare and then charging more for bags, heavy bags, priority boarding,window seats, bad sandwiches, soft drinks, blankets and, of course, reservation changes.

According to CNN: Baggage fees alone generate more than $3.3 billion each year, and fees for reservation changes add almost $2.5 billion.

Annoying, for sure … but also a good source of revenue.

According to watchdog group ProPublica, colleges are starting to adopt the airlines’ pricing playbook.


Specifically, ProPublica says that student fees have become a kind of “stealth, second tuition imposed on unsuspecting families.”

And though their names can border on the comical — i.e., the “student success fee” — there’s nothing funny about how they can add up.

Such fees are on the rise on many campuses.

Here are some specifics:

  • University of California Santa Cruz charges more than 30 additional fees — including a small charge for what’s billed as free” HIV testing.
  • Oklahoma State University charges 18 different fees, including a “life safety and security fee.”
  • Howard University charges a $100 “globalization fee” for study abroad … even if they have no intention of studying abroad themselves.
  • Worcester State University charges a “parking/pedestrian fee”  to the upkeep of the sidewalks on campus.
  • A number of public colleges  have added fees with vaguely pleasant names — “academic excellence and success fees,” or “student enhancement fees”.
  • UVA charges engineering majors an extra $750 per year.
  • Georgia public colleges charge additional  “institutional fees” instead of “tuition” because several classes of entering students had already been promised that their tuition would be locked in at the same rate as part of a “guaranteed tuition plan.” Calling any increase “tuition” would break that promise.

For sure, these fees can add up.

University of Massachusetts Amherst, the flagship of the UMass system charges mandatory fees that are more than six times the cost of in-state tuition.


Maybe they should start charging for back row seats in class.

Now, that would be a moneymaker !

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