ST. CLOUD -- Paying for college could get a little cheaper. The Minnesota Legislature is considering making paying for student fees optional for students at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Student fees are not included in tuition and are paid separately each semester.

There is a downfall though if students are no longer required to pay student fees. Vice Chancellor for Finance and Chief Financial Officer for Minnesota State, Laura King says if these services were to be cut due to lack of funding it could make it harder for a student to achieve their goals.

"We have real concerns, the absence of the programs that are supported by these fees would impact student engagement, community building and the life of the student on campus."

Types of student fees vary among colleges and universities but they can include athletic fees, health services fees, technology fees and activity fees. King says students on each campus decide what services they'd like to see on their campus.

"These fees support programming the students design and there's often staff associated with those programs. It would be really difficult for us to start and stop the program every year based on an annual boarding process."

The total cost a student has to pay for student fees is different at each college and university. At St. Cloud State University students pay an average of $500 per semester in student fees in addition to tuition and other college expenses such as housing and books.

Concerns about tuition prices rising if student fees become optional to pay is being discussed by lawmakers. King says a tuition hike based on student fees is not being considered.

"We're not making the connection that if these optional fees become practice that we're going to raise tuition because that's not our intention."

The measure to make fees optional is included in the $3.2 billion higher education bill that passed in the House earlier this month.

This story was written with information from the Associated Press.

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