Getting the Bang For Your Buck at UNG: Mandatory Fees


Picture of students walking on the UNG Dahlonega campus Photo by Emma Keisler

Picture of students walking on the UNG Dahlonega campus
Photo by Emma Keisler

Finances are something that almost every college student stresses about, with 60% of students worrying that they won’t be able to pay for college, according to There are many things students have to be wary about when budgeting for tuition, like whether they will be living on or off campus, meal plans, and fees. 

Fees that students might encounter at the University of North Georgia include health, technology, recreation, institution, activity, and athletic fees depending on the campus a student attends. These fees have become frustrating for many students, and many commuter students question the necessity for certain fees.

Amelia Keener, a junior English major commuting to the Gainesville and Dahlonega campuses, says, “ I had to take classes on both campuses this semester. I was charged the full fees for both campuses. In addition, I was not informed that I had to pay the fees for Dahlonega until after they were due. I had paid the fees for Gainesville a month prior. I was notified that I was going to be dropped from my class if I did not pay. I had no idea I had to pay these fees, and in the end, had to pay the fees for both campuses and the late fees as well.” Kenner adds, “The titles for the fees are extremely vague. The ‘special institution’ fee is one of the highest priced ones, and we have no clue what that’s used for. I think UNG should give a detailed report of where their fees go.”

Davis Lynn, a sophomore business major commuting to the Dahlonega campus says he has had to pay more this year in fees than any year in the past, but has a primarily online schedule. He says, “ ‘Mandatory fees to pay for resources automatically sounds like a cop out to charge more for things than they should.” Lynn says, “College students are stuck. If we want a good life later on, we pretty much have to accept being absolutely broke for now and letting these academic institutions drain us of as much money as possible because that’s just how the system is. Not only do universities weed out those not motivated to persevere in a learning environment, they weed out those not willing to suffer financially for years of their life.” 

Jared Goodall, a bursar at UNG, explained that the fees are mandatory fees, not utility fees. He says, “The questions that I get are like ‘it’s unfair that I have to pay this fee’ and it can get quite intense. I was a student here too, I understand, but this isn’t paying for you as a user fee, but to pay off the expenses of the facilities you use. If we only charged it to the students who used it, the prices would be much higher for a few people so we try to keep things fair.”

 In regards to the most complained about fees, the athletic and transportation fees, Goodall said, “The athletic fee is only given to Dahlonega students out of consolidation. All of the other campuses are commuter campuses and do not have intercollegiate sports.” As for the transportation fee he says, “When I was a student here this fee was called the access fee, and I think that is probably a more appropriate title. This fee is for more than the shuttle though, it goes towards the maintenance of the parking decks, construction, and updates to lots.”

Goodall says, “Ironically enough mandatory fees haven’t changed that much in the past four to five years. The only change is last fall all health fees went down to $65.” The only time a mandatory fee would be added to a student’s account after paying tuition would be if a student attending a different campus wanted to use a facility, like Dahlonega’s Rec Center, but hasn’t paid the allotted fee. In that case they would then request to add the fee to their account so they can use those facilities.

Goodall says, “ These fees are tied to a standard formula. We look at when a student is enrolled and the amount of in class room hours that are being held. We don’t consider online classes towards who gets charged fees, but based on what campus you are taking classes at. I was a commuter student for seven years at UNG. I paid mandatory fees every semester, but I didn’t utilize a lot of them. Go ahead and take advantage of all the places your fees pay for and enjoy them while you’re here.”

Screenshot of fees from business office at UNG
Photo by Emma Keisler