Test late fees offset department spending

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    By Tiffany Smith

    Some students may feel the $4.25 required when they take a test on a late day is adding insult to injury.

    But, the policy, first instituted in 1997, is neither an attempt to discriminate against financially-struggling students nor to increase university profit margins, officials say.

    “It”s to offset the fees that the department is charged for administering tests over (in the Testing Center),” said Bobeta Powell, administrative assistant in the Department of Communications.

    According to the BYU Testing Services “Policies and Procedures Handbook”, offering at least one testing day with an associated late fee is a required policy for the Religion, Communications and Humanities departments.

    The “Policies and Procedures Handbook” lists a number of charges per student that departments incur by using the Testing Center to free up in-class lecture time. The Testing Center uses the money from the departments to cover operating costs.

    The handbook explains that money from student late fees is given back to the departments to defray Testing Center charges.

    But few students on campus seem to understand the system, and different theories about the destination of testing center fees are circulating around campus.

    Some students believe the late fee ensures that there is room in the testing center.

    “I think it”s probably to encourage students to take it sooner, so it”s not so crowded later on Saturdays” said Chad McKell, 18, a freshman from Los Angeles, Calif., with an undeclared major.

    Others are less certain of the policy”s positive impact.

    “It”s just another way for them to make money,” said Sarah Tawehi, 18, a freshman from Orange County, Calif., majoring in political science. “I think it”s ridiculous. If we”re paying for tuition, I don”t really see the purpose of paying so much for a late fee. It”s a huge consequence for taking it a day later.”

    Powell”s explanation of the system goes against the ideas that students have.

    “It”s the choice that students have if they wait for the third day to take a test,” she said. “We don”t make any money.”

    But many students are paying it. When student Analyn Vimahi, 22, a junior majoring in athletic training from Euless, Texas, was asked how much she had paid in late fees, she laughed and replied, “Sheesh, like tuition.”

    Other students laugh because they haven”t paid late fees.

    “I don”t think I”ve spent any (money on late fees)–never,” said Brandon Bascom, 22, a junior from Provo majoring in piano performance. “I”m going to do bad either way, so why pay to fail?”

    For other students, taking a test late allows them to cope with emergencies or inconvenient scheduling.

    Steven Herbert, 23, a senior, majoring in electrical engineering from Spanish Fork, said he has spent somewhere between $15 and $ 20 on late fees at the testing center.

    He said when he has had to take a test late and pay a fee, “it was usually because of schedule conflicts.”

    Other students completely forget to take tests on time.

    “I”ve only paid one late fee so far,” said Meggin Kaiser, 18, a freshman from Orem, majoring in elementary education. “I didn”t realize it was the late day, so I just had to pay.”

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