Stop charging for claiming credit, relieve unfair financial burden

Jennifer Beck

Like many other freshmen at some point this semester, I recently logged onto the UT Testing and Evaluation Services website and began the process of claiming credits that I earned in high school. Little did I know, I would be paying hundreds of dollars to claim said credits despite having already paid fees to take the tests and send my scores to UT. 

After speaking with students from the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Michigan, Indiana University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (among many other institutions), it seems that charging fees to claim credit is not a very common practice at large public universities in the United States — except for UT.

To relieve unnecessary financial stress on students, UT should abandon its practice of charging students to claim credit hours for AP/IB, dual credit and non-UT college courses.

Claiming even a few credits at UT will cost you, but the weight of these fees are felt most by those coming in with a lot of credit or low-income students. UT charges a $10 fee per credit hour claimed, so most students end up paying $30 per course they’ve earned credit for. However, in some cases, like for foreign language courses, students may use one test score to claim as many as six hours, meaning they have to pay a $60 fee for one course.

Business freshman Ashley Wu said she had to pay nearly $300 in fees to claim credits she earned prior to attending UT.

“We already pay so much for the actual tests and sending them to universities,” Wu said. “On top of that, making us pay for not only the credit, but also in some cases paying for an extra test to take a course we already have credit in — I believe (this) is unnecessarily excessive.”

After two weeks of trying to get hold of UT Testing and Evaluation Services, I was unable to get a comment about why the fees are charged, where that money goes and why UT doesn’t follow its peers. 

The University should not be charging students for credit they have earned and already paid for multiple times. It is completely unnecessary and unfair. That being said, UT should remove this financial burden and immediately change their policy surrounding credit claiming, effectively removing all fees for students. 

A fee of a couple hundred dollars may seem insignificant to some, but to the 25% of students who struggle with food insecurity, those costs threaten their ability to feed themselves. And to students like me — one person in the 10.6% out-of-state population at UT — every fee, no matter how small, adds to the already colossal cost that is our tuition. It is time for UT to follow the example of other universities and relieve this unnecessary financial burden on students.

Beck is a radio-television-film freshman from Park Ridge, Illinois.