Student Fee Referendum Fall 2022

Now Available  Frequently Asked Questions.

Welcome
from Dr. Gene Fitch, Jr.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Welcome, students, to the Student Fee Referendum website. Here you will find information about the two fee increases that we are asking you to consider. Let me first say, there is never a good time to ask students to raise their fees. However, if there was a good time, this is that time. UTD has seen tremendous growth over the last two decades. With a projected enrollment this semester that will exceed 31,500 students there appears to be no end to this growth. The 2018 UTD Master Plan was created to facilitate the development of buildings and infrastructure that supports the University's mission and vision. The Master Plan projected an enrollment of 35,000 students by the year 2030. At this rate, we will hit that target five years early. Our facilities are inadequate and are unable to sustain user demand. For this reason, we are asking you to consider these increases.

Before you decide, it's important to consider the impact your decision will have on students who choose to attend UTD in the future. Students who came before you had to make similar choices. Students who voted in favor of previous increases saw the vision of what UTD could be. If it weren't for them, the current Student Union wouldn't exist. The Student Services Building and Student Services Building Addition would simply be sketches on paper. The Activity Center, gyms and outdoor recreational facilities would be dirt and grass. None of this would have existed without student support. The question that remains is what do you want your legacy to be?

When you return to visit UTD as alumni, you will see the results of the decision we are asking you to make. When you visit with fellow alumni, your former classmates, you won't talk about the grades you made in ECON or CHEM 1. You're going to talk about the experiences you had because that's what lasts and that's what matters. You'll talk about your participation in student organizations, Oozeball, Springapalooza, hanging out on the Plinth. These experiences would not have been possible if the students before you did not see the vision.

Naturally, we would like you to support these fee increases as we believe it's time to expand the programs and services offered to UTD students. This isn't possible without an investment in the facilities to support these functions. If you choose to vote in opposition, we ask that you base your decision on facts, not on what you may see or read on social media. We're hosting several open forums where students will be able to view a presentation that includes historical information about the fees, renderings of future facilities, the impact and benefits of the fee increases, but more importantly, you will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this website. To learn more about the impact and benefits of the fee increases please review the information included below

Vote “YES” to Invest in the future of UTD and its students!

About

To provide additional facilities, amenities and services for Comets, two student fees are up for referendum.

The Intramural and Intercollegiate Athletics Fee would change to $7 per semester credit hour (currently $45 per semester—not semester credit hour).

The Student Union Fee would increase to $100 per semester (currently $60 per semester).

If supported, the increases would go into effect in fall 2023. Currently enrolled students participating in the guaranteed tuition plan would not be impacted.

Increasing these fees benefits students by adding campus resources, including spaces to interact and spend time with other Comets, and to host and attend university events.

Background
Intramural and Intercollegiate Athletics Fee

The Intramural and Intercollegiate Athletics Fee was originally approved during the 80th Texas Legislative Session, effective Sept. 1, 2008. The fee was established at $45 per student per semester and has remained unchanged for 14 years.

Sports currently supported by the Intramural and Intercollegiate Athletics Fee include:

  • Men's/Women's Soccer
  • Men's/Women's Basketball
  • Men's/Women's Golf
  • Men's/Women's Cross Country
  • Men's/Women's Tennis
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Volleyball
  • Men's/Women's Indoor/Outdoor Track & Field
  • Esports (co-ed)

Enrollment is expected to exceed 35,000 students in the next 3-5 years and upgraded and expanded intramural and athletic facilities are necessary for student-athletes and students. Proposed upgrades may include:

  • Track and field complex.
  • Expansion of existing baseball stadium.
  • Renovation of softball complex.
  • Strength and conditioning facility.
  • Expanded athletic training facility.
  • Additional locker rooms.
  • Laundry facility.
  • Coach/staff offices.
  • Access to SPN athletic facility (for sport clubs).
  • Field maintenance and upkeep.
  • Resurfacing of the multipurpose field.
Track & Field Concept Close up of field.

Track & Field Concept Close up of field.

Gallery: Track & Field Concepts

The current Intramural and Intercollegiate Athletics Fee is not sufficient to finance expanded operations or major renovation/construction of new athletic and recreational facilities. The below table provides comparative data with other Texas universities. A fee increase would be contingent upon majority vote by students participating in a general election.

University Enrollment Per Semester Fee or Per SCH Fee
UT Dallas Projected
31,500
$45 Proposed $7
UT El Paso 24,003 $180
Texas State 38,000 $300
Sul Ross State 2,775     $11.52
UT Arlington 42,733 $8.50
Texas Tech 40,666 $15.39
U. of North Texas 38,000 $16.25
UT San Antonio 29,959 $20
Texas universities Intramural and Intercollegiate Athletics Fees

Student Union Fee

The Student Union was originally constructed in 1979. In 2001, the Student Union Fee increased from $40 per semester to $60 to support expansion and construction of The Pub. It has not increased since that time. In the interim, student enrollment grew 153 percent, from 12,445 in fall 2001 to a projected 31,500 in fall 2022.

With this growth, additional space and services are necessary to support and engage students. The Association of College Unions International (ACU-I) recommends student unions provide about 10 square feet of space per student. Using this benchmark, the current union, which is 100,000 square feet, is roughly a third of the recommended size.

An increase to the Student Union Fee could provide:

  • Student employment opportunities.
  • Food and dining options to transform the campus dining experience.
  • Areas for pool, table tennis and other table-top gaming.
  • Banquet space for hosting events for up to 600 people.
  • Student Government and Graduate Student Assembly headquarters, meeting space and a parliamentary room.
  • Lounge and study space throughout.
  • Meeting rooms for student organization activities and groups.
  • Gallery for showcasing student art.
  • Dedicated practice/performance area for dance and spirit groups.
  • Outdoor amphitheater for live entertainment.
New Student Union Concept Interior.

New Student Union Concept Exterior.

  • Renovation of The Pub (inside the existing Student Union) into a state-of-the-art esports and gaming area. Proposed amenities of the reimagined area may include:
    • Two floors, encompassing 15,000 square feet of space.
    • Open to all students, regardless of skill level.
    • More than 50 stations for PC gaming.
    • Console gaming pods.
    • Competitive esports arena with spectator seating.
    • New dining concept with dedicated seating area.
    • Ability to host multiple esports tournaments.
    • Space to host programs like comedy nights, open mic nights, poetry slams and karaoke.

The current $60 per semester fee is insufficient to finance a major renovation or construction of a new, larger union. The below table provides comparative data with other Texas universities.

Gallery: Student Union esports and gaming area

Gallery: New Student Union Concepts

University Enrollment Size of Union Current Fee
UT Dallas Projected
31,500
100,000 $60
UT Arlington 42,733 240,000 $39
Texas State 38,000 250,000 $100
Texas Tech 40,666 250,000 $93
U. of Houston 45,000 306,000 $145
U. of North Texas 38,000 300,000 $167
UT El Paso 24,003 207,000 $30
UT San Antonio 29,959 225,000 $120
Texas universities Student Union Fees

A Student Union Fee increase would be contingent upon a majority vote by students participating in a general, open election. Fees collected would only be used for financing, constructing, operating and maintaining the proposed new Student Union building.


Voting

Voting for the Student Fee Referendum is planned for Oct. 4-6.

Voting will take place online, and a ballot will be shared with students via their UTD email address.