Regents Increase Fee for First STEP, Opening Week Orientation Program

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Dec. 12, 2008 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today increased the fee associated with First STEP and Opening Week orientation programs for entering first-year students.

The new fee will be $65 per student, up from $50 per student, beginning with orientation for the spring 2010 academic semester.

The orientation fee has not increased since 1996, according to Dr. Fred Janzow, vice provost and dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The fee associated with these orientation activities covers the costs of mailings, student labor, catering, copying and printing and other functions of the First STEP and Opening Week programs.

Since 1996, operations costs have increased substantially in the orientation programs, he said. The total cost for the orientation program increased by 34.1 percent from fiscal 2000 to fiscal 2009, he said, resulting in continuing budget deficits. The fee increase and budget efficiencies will bring costs and fee revenues into balance for the next several years, he said.

The University provides a two-stage orientation for entering first-year students to prepare them for their first year on campus. The first stage is a one-day orientation, First STEP, for first-year students and their families. At First STEP, testing for placement in composition and mathematics courses occurs, and incoming students receive important information about campus life, financial services and academic advising, and students enroll in their classes.

At each orientation session, the University provides a continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks for students and their family members. During the 2007-2008 First STEP season, the University hosted 2,000 students and 3,000 family members, Janzow said. The operating budget for the First STEP orientation program is a revolving account in which the University provides initial funds for the operation that are recovered through the orientation fee.

The second stage of orientation, a six-day series of activities beginning the Thursday before the start of the fall semester, includes the President’s Welcome Convocation, group orientation activities facilitated by faculty, staff and student orientation leaders, and other campus and city events, such as the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce’s “Welcome Back Picnic.”