Students at Texas A&M University-Commerce will be voting on an increase in the athletic fee they pay each semester. This would allow the university to allocate more of its funds toward paying faculty salaries.
“Our athletic fee is $10.99 per semester credit hour, everywhere else in the system is 20-something, and West Texas A&M is $32,” Ray M. Keck III, Texas A&M-Commerce president, said as reported by The East Texan. “There is a dilemma in that no one who votes on this will pay the higher fee… but if this referendum fails, I don’t know what we’re gonna do because we don’t have another source of new money to create more faculty lines.”
Due to a state requirement, universities must offer incoming students a fixed tuition rate that will not increase for four years. The Texas A&M System Board of Regent also has a policy that holds student fees steady as they progress through their undergraduate education.
“Right now, $3.6 million is going to the athletic side of the university out of your tuition money,” Keck told the students at a Student Government Association meeting. “We need to move that money back to the academic side, and we can’t do that unless we raise the athletic fee, and we can’t raise the athletic fee unless the student body agrees to do it.”