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Sam, Attorney at Law
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 27011
Experience:  More than 20 years of experience practicing law.
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I am a doctoral nursing student at a large university.

Customer Question

Hello, I am a doctoral nursing student at a large university. My most recent tuition bill included a line item for "lab fees" to the tune of $2000.00. I have not stepped foot in the university's lab for years and the courses I am taking this summer also do not include lab time. I feel like this is the university's way of increasing fees without actually increasing tuition. Is this legal? Many thanks.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
HelloThis is Samuel and I will discuss this and provide you information in this regard. Have you discussed these fees with the billing department or your resident adviser or anyone?What is the response about the fees?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your quick response, Samuel. I spoke to the Assistant Dean of Nursing Practice about the fees and she is the one that actually planted the idea that this is the University's way of increasing fees without actually having to raise tuition (which would generate local backlash). This is not a mistake or a one-time occurrence. I have probably paid over $10,000 in "lab fees" over the years, although I would have to review my bills for an exact number. At one time I did use the nursing simulation lab, but that was between the years 2008-2011. This summer my courses include "Independent Study" which is a clinical rotation (with no lab time) and "Independent Project" which refers to writing my dissertation (again, no lab time). During the time that I used the lab, I understood the fees, but now they seem like a sneaky, backdoor way to increase fees. I have been told to ask the Assistant Dean of Operations and the Academic Dean about these fees, but wanted to try to get my ducks in a row first. Please let me know what other information I can provide that might help.
Many thanks!
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
Good morningI suggest that you will need to write the Assistant Dean with copies to the Academic Dean and the Assistant Dean and request a written response as to how these fees are legitimate. I suggest you want it in writing for your records and possible future use Unfortunately, SC does not have a Board of Regents to oversee this type of behavior - though it appears they are working on it.So the upshot would be you would need to bring the matter to a civil suit to recoup any fees that are unjust. You also can consider discussing these payouts with your lender, if you are using loans for your education.I wish there was more, but let me know if you have other questions.