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A Resolution for Transparency and Openness at The University of Virginia's College at Wise

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The University of Virginia's College at Wise One College Avenue Wise, VA 24293 Dear University of Virginia's College at Wise: Our institution prides itself as “fulfilling Thomas Jefferson's Dream” in bringing higher education to all those whom seek it. Education attainment is a vision shared by our founders and the former President of our nation in which we base our college upon. Unfortunately, the attainment of education comes at a great costs to not only the students who seek it, but the families of those students and the taxpayers of the state and the nation to support such aspirations. This financial burden has only grown in the past decade, and at an alarming rate in which we see college education costs exceeding the rate of inflation as median annual household incomes are dropping in such troubling times in which our nation and our community's face. Students of my generation and generations to come will now face an even heavier burden then the one's seen by previous generations as these costs will continue to rise and leave in its wake students shackled by debt for years to come coupled with a stagnate economy which leaves many unemployed or under employed. Colleges across the state of VA and our nation must seek a leadership role in spearheading measures to educate, and inform students and their families about the costs of college and provide them the information that will enable them to make informed and rational decisions about their futures. It is in this light that we bring to your attention to the lack of transparency we have discovered at our beloved institution. Hidden fees; fees that are disguised and hidden from reasonable means of access to students and their families. We believe it is in the best interests of the College to review its current policy in how these fees are made accessible and made available to the public; most importantly students and their families. Though the state has no regulation in place that such fees be itemized or made available through reasonable, accessible means i.e. the college catalog, the college website, or the bills/statements remitted to students. The University of Virginia's College at Wise should be a leader and agent of change of the status quo and established paradigm and put the interests of the students and their families at the head, first and foremost in revealing, providing, and educating about this information. If we truly claim to be the fulfillment of Thomas Jefferson's Dream, perhaps it is time we also follow his laurels if we are to boast such a claim. "We might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant's books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them." --Thomas Jefferson A Motion to Make Fully Transparent the College’s Athletic and Non-educational and mandatory Fees. We call on the College to adopt a policy of total transparency with regard to its “General/Required Fees” aka Non-educational mandatory and general fees; more specifically calling for all fees to be broken out “itemized” in the College Catalog, on College bills/statements and the College’s website in a means that is accessible, and understandable by all men and women of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Transparency is appropriate and, especially in a public institution, highly desirable. Beyond the present practice of posting Tuition and Fees on a College website, catalog, and bills/statements; the College will itemize its fees in detail in the Catalog, on bills/statements, and the website. It is recommended that total transparency in fees be College policy. General Fee Transparency Act Offered by: Robert M. Davis, Alumni Class of 2011, Current Masters MPA Student VA Tech WHEREAS, it is in the interests of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise to inform students of where their fees go annually; WHEREAS, the Intercollegiate Athletics fee constitutes $1,098.66 dollars (2011-2012 Budget) annually per FTE student; WHEREAS, this comprises a plurality -- nearly 32.65% -- of total fees included in “General Fees” paid by all students annually; WHEREAS, assuming these rates stay constant over the next 4 years, a freshman graduating in Year 2017 will have paid over $4,394.64 on an Intercollegiate Athletic fees; WHEREAS, a breakdown of the “Athletic Fee” and other fees which make up the “General Fee” does not appear in the College Catalog nor on billing materials or the College’s website; WHEREAS, transparency in financial operations of the College is an important and desirable goal, especially when students and their families as well as taxpayers in the Commonwealth Virginia are the direct benefactors, and contributors of the college’s operations; Hence, let it be RESOLVED: i. That strong support on behalf of alumni, students, families, taxpayers, residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, faculty and staff in the inclusion for supporting a line-item breakdown of the way the “General Fee” is divided on college billing materials and within the College’s annual Catalog and the College’s website. ii. Support requiring the Finance and Administration Department's Budget Office to notify the student body (via Student Government Association) Student Representative of the Board and faculty (via Faculty Senate) when any of the aforementioned fees are modified. Sincerely, Robert M. Davis, Alumni, Students, and Families of The University of Virginia's College at Wise.


Robert M. Davis


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