FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will have some extra money in their pockets this fall after administrators decided to eliminate course fees of $40 or less.
The fees have sparked protests from students, who often view them as unfair hidden costs for such things as laboratory maintenance and copies of reading material.
''It's the right thing to do,'' said Frank Williams, UAF vice chancellor of administrative services. ''I think the easiest way to understand it is the fees were becoming troublesome to students and the administration.''
The decision came in a meeting of UAF's top administrators, Williams said.
The end of UAF fees could foreshadow coming systemwide decisions. A University of Alaska review on course fees is scheduled to be completed in time for discussion at October's meeting of the regents.
The university's Anchorage and Southeast campuses don't have plans to cut fees, according to Bob Miller, a spokesman for University of Alaska President mark Hamilton, who is on annual leave. But UAF's move could change that.
''President Hamilton was very pleased at UAF's decision.... The president certainly believes this is a step in the right direction,'' Miller said.
For UAF students, the impact will vary.
For some, the savings could be substantial. Using the example of a full-time sophomore seeking a degree in biology, Williams said the student could save as much as $140 in course fees with a class schedule of human anatomy, physiology, ecology, general chemistry and interrelation of art, drama and music.
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