Health and parking fees confuse students

Julian Williamson

With the start of each semester, Saddleback students shell out their hard-earned money for parking permits and the mysterious health service fee.

Everyone pays for them, even financial aide students, but no one really knows where the money is going.

“I really don’t know where the money goes,” said Jon Wood, 20, criminal justice. “I never really thought about it before.”

The Health Services Center, located near the main entrance of the SSC building, offers a wide range of aid to students for a mere $16 each semester. The fee covers all costs incurred by the center for supplies, employees, maintenance, and accident/injury insurance for the college. The Health Services Center receives no money from the college or the state; every penny it gets comes from students.

The health center sees more than 4,000 patients each semester for all ailments ranging from a headache to a virus, as well as counseling for students.

“It’s essentially the same as a doctor’s office,” said Michael Luft, Registered Nurse and employee in the center. “Students can go in for any number of minor ailments and be seen by a physician, which is paid for just by enrolling at Saddleback.”

On staff, there is a general practitioner, a gynecologist, a psychologist, six counselors, two registered nurses, and two clerical employees. They are a highly trained and professional group, with only the well-being of students in mind.

The accident/injury insurance, which covers all students while on campus, will cover the costs of any medical treatment required after a setback, should one occur. The insurance also covers costs at off-campus facilities for any accidental injuries sustained on Saddleback property.

For example, if a student fell down a flight of stairs and broke an arm, he would receive medical treatment at a hospital of his choice and it will be covered by that $16 enrollment fee if he were injured on Saddleback’s campus.

The other fee students can’t seem to figure out is the parking permit. Spending $30 for the semester, or $60 for the year, buys students the ability, but not necessarily the location, to park their cars or motorcycles at Saddleback.

The price tag on the permit covers a wide range of services, including all the maintenance for the parking lot itself (re-tarring, painting, lighting, etc.). However, there’s another contributor to the funds for parking services: citations.

According to Andrew Craven, parking coordinator, Saddleback has given out 9,355 parking citations this year since January. There are just over 24,000 students currently enrolled, which comes out that roughly half of all students will receive a ticket before the end of 2007.

Besides physical upkeep, the budget pays for a portion of the salaries for the 14 campus police officers employed by the college, due to the time they spend patrolling, escorting students through, and giving citations in the parking lot.

A small percentage of the permit fee goes to Credentials Inc., the outside company that Saddleback uses for the permits themselves. Credentials Inc., the same company the college uses for transcript printouts, charges $3.25 for a semester and $4.50 for a full-year permit, which is included in the aforementioned prices. These service fees cover the costs for shipping and handling, as well as printing.


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