UW Regent Policy defines segregated fees as “charges, in addition to instructional fees, assessed to all students for student services, activities, programs and facilities that support the mission of University of Wisconsin System institutions.” In other words, they are called “segregated fees” because they are separated out from “instructional fees” — i.e. tuition.
Paying Segregated Fees
You do not have to pay your seg fees until the first pay date of the semester.
If you are required to pay tuition (in full or in part) in addition to seg fees, you can pay the total amount you owe in three equal installments. If you choose to pay your fees/tuition in three installments, your first installment is due no earlier than the first pay date of the semester. The final installment is due no earlier than twelve weeks after the start of classes for that semester (TAA contract, Article X1(4)).
Paying significant amounts of money out of our already modest salaries has never been a popular pastime for UW-Madison grad employees but it’s gotten a lot less bearable in recent years.
As of the 2009-2010 year, seg fees accounted for 9% of the average grad employee’s salary. The average TA or PA has a 40% appointment. At the Standard rate for TAs (which is the same as that of a 9-month PA), this translates into an academic year salary of $11,270. Grads taking 8+ credits in the fall and spring semesters alone pay $1018.08 per year in seg fees. For the largest number of TAs and PAs, then, that’s 9% of salary. This comes close to being a full month’s salary devoted to seg fees alone! It is much more than most of us pay for a month’s rent, too.
Seg fee costs have risen dramatically in recent years: from the Fall of 2003 through 2009, for students taking 8 or more credits the cost of seg fees has gone up by 74%! This far outstrips any compensating increase in our salaries (up 12.6% in the same period), and it outpaces the rise in the cost of living as well (about 13%).
Why has the UW Administration thus far refused to negotiate on the issue of segregated fees? They argue that seg fees are under student control, and thus shouldn’t be bargained with employees. Sometimes they have hinted that they can’t bargain over this issue, since (they claim) to do so would violate the principle of shared governance. We have argued back that we would be negotiating for payment of seg fees as a benefit of employment – precisely what a union contract is supposed to cover, and nothing that would interfere with shared governance. As for the idea that seg fees are entirely under student control, this just ain’t so, as the next section will demonstrate.
How are seg fee amounts determined?
There are two types of seg fees: “allocable” and “non-allocable,” named for whether students are allowed to allocate (spend) them as they see fit. The following breakdown tells you how each type of seg fee is assessed, what it’s used for, and what it currently funds. (All figures are from the 2009-2010 academic year, and the quotations are from UW System Policy and UW Regent Policy, which follow and elaborate Wisconsin state law.)
These fees are determined by students, but “in consultation with the Chancellor or his/her designee, and subject to the final confirmation of the Board of Regents.” Their purpose is to “provide substantial support for campus student activities and services.”
Currently funds various student services and programs (Sex Out Loud, the Student Tenant Union, the Working Class Student Union, etc.); Associated Students of Madison (ASM); bus passes; and United Council. Cost = $95.44/semester (19% of total).
These fees are determined by the Chancellor, but “following consultation with students,” who “are to be given an opportunity to review and offer advice upon the budget of each program and activity.” Their purpose is to “support long-term commitments for fixed financial obligations, ongoing operating costs of university owned or controlled buildings, and similar commitments for student unions, health centers, child care centers and recreational sports centers.”
Currently funds University Health Service (UHS); Union facilities and lecture series (this includes the replacement of Union South); Child Care Tuition Assistance Program (CCTAP); construction of the Student Activities Center and University Health Services facilities at University Square; and programs and facilities at SERF, Camp Randall, and the Natatorium. Cost = $413.60/semester (81% of total).