Facilities fee surprising some students

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    By DAVID GEDRIS

    Part-time and continuing students are finding out they need to pay a fee to use the campus athletic facilities.

    While the guidelines were made 20 years ago by BYU’s Health and Human Performance Services Department, many students are unaware of this fee.

    Aaron Ballantyne, 22, a junior from Nyssa, Oregon, said the policy is new to him and his friends. “Last summer, we played tennis several times and all we needed to do was show them our ID cards. When we went to the BYU courts this Spring, they said we had to be full-time students to use the courts. I didn’t hear anything about it before hand.”

    Bruce Holley, Chair of Health and Human Performance Services, confirmed that only full-time students are allowed to use the facilities for free. Part-time, continuing students, and those who have recently graduated must pay for either a one day or semester pass. Non-students must be sponsored by a student to buy a pass.

    For a one day guest pass the cost is $5. Unlimited use for Spring term will cost $22.50. The cost for both Spring and Summer terms is $45.

    When asked why only full-time students are allowed free access, Holley said, “Students who pay full-tuition for a semester pay an additional activitiy fee that is divided among the different colleges. Students who pay for a part-time class pay directly into that college without paying that additional fee. Unless they’re enrolled in a physical education class, we don’t receive any of that money.”

    Holley said the cost of the guest pass or semester pass help to compensate for the use and maintenance of that particular facility.

    “Essentially, the fee is a cleaning fee for the uniforms and upkeep of the equipment. My laundry bill last year was about $125,000, and the cost of equipment was near $80,000. We’re trying to keep the cost as low as possible. The students have a right to use them (the facilities), but the fee they pay probably doesn’t cover our expenses,” Holley said.

    The policy applies to all semesters, including Fall and Winter, and has been in effect for 20 years. Five years ago the cost for a semester pass was $35, but the price was raised to keep up with increasing expenses.

    The facilities that will require payment for part-time and continuing students are the weight room, the racquetball, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and wallyball courts, and the swimming pool.

    Still, there are some students that feel they’re not being treated as a student because of the policy.

    “We went to school full-time last year and next year we’ll be going full-time. I’m very disappointed that even a continuing student can’t use the courts (for free). I feel like we’re being treated like we never went to school here,” Ballantyne said

    Sariah Boucher, 20, a sophomore from Ontario, Canada, majoring in French teaching, said a distinction should be made between part-time and non-students. “Maybe they should have a discount for being a part-time student. You still have to pay, but just not as much.”

    Boucher said the semester pass is a good deal if someone will use it often enough, especially when compared to the costs of membership to local health and fitness clubs.

    A national survey conducted a few years ago showed that other universities, such as University of Texas and University of California at Berkley, also charge a one-time fee of five dollars for the use of their athletics facilities.

    When asked how the policy is enforced, Lindsay Robison, student employee of the Health and Human Performance Department, said that upon payment of tuition, all full-time students are in the computer system. When an ID card is swiped at the facility being used, the computer will tell the employee if the student is full-time, part-time, or not currently enrolled. If someone buys a guest pass, or a pass for the semester, their names are entered into the system for that period.

    Occasionally, special guest passes are available through the department when families want to use the facilities. Events like Homecoming and Graduation are such times.

    For more information regarding the facilities fee, please contact Health and Human Performance Services at 378-3980.

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