February 4, 2003

ResNet Fees Added as Part of Housing Costs

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During its meeting last month, the Cornell Board of Trustees decided to partially incorporate Resnet fees into the University’s undergraduate housing rates, making the bulk of such fees an expense covered by students’ financial aid packages.

“The Resnet costs will be included into the financial aid base budget as we create next year’s financial aid package,” said Thomas Keane, director of financial aid and student employment.

Next year’s housing rates will include a $245 base fee for residential network and Internet connection. This base fee will be covered by financial aid. In addition, students will pay four dollars each month for a standard amount of Internet usage. Any usage beyond a certain threshold will be billed on an incremental fee system.

Polly McClure, vice president of information technology, maintains that “most students will never exceed the standard internet usage. Four dollars a month will be enough for about 90% of students in residence halls.”

In contrast, this year’s Resnet charge of $400 was billed separately from housing rates as a voluntary service which was not included in financial aid.

Next year, when the charge is included in housing fees, students in residence halls will be equipped with Internet service automatically.

“Every room on campus will be given Internet capabilities, regardless,” said Susan Murphy, vice president of student and academic affairs.

Students living in residence halls are not the only ones to benefit from the changes.

“All students would be able to include Resnet fees in financial aid, those living off campus as well,” McClure said. The fees will be included in the estimates for housing as the Financial Aid Office builds next year’s cost of attendance. This figure is based on the double room rate in a residence hall but included in all financial aid packages, for students living both on and off campus.

“We change our loan levels every year to accommodate everyone. Whatever a student’s need is, it will be met,” Keane said.

Students relying on financial aid are happy about next year’s changes, although some feel that they should have been made sooner.

“At a lot of other schools, they don’t have to pay for Internet at all; it should have been included from the beginning,” Jerry Saint-Phard ’05 said. “They’re going to get our money either way, but having it included in financial aid will help,” he added.

While most students will benefit from the billing adjustments, concerns have been raised that some may end up paying for services they do not use. With Resnet fees automatically lumped into housing rates, students without computers or Internet capabilities will still have to pay the Resnet fees.

“I think the changes are great, but I know people who don’t have computers that will be paying for something they don’t need,” Michelle Giuliano ’05 said.

Archived article by Emily Sketch