UF student senate opposes international fee

Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2004 at 12:27 a.m.
International students at the University of Florida won a small victory Tuesday night as the Student Senate passed a resolution opposing a $50 service fee UF charges international students that senators say is discriminatory.
Dozens of international students, some with with picket signs reading "Diversity Does Not Equal $50," and "Strike the $50 Fee," crowded into a meeting at the Reitz Union in a show of support of the resolution against the fee.
UF graduate student Victor Romano, co-president of Graduate Assistants United and a sponsor of the bill said the administration needs to make its international students more of a priority.
"It's a step in the right direction," Romano said after the resolution was passed. "I hope the administration responds to the voice of the students who have spoken today."
In January 2002, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security implemented SEVIS, or the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, following Sept. 11. It is a Web-based program for maintaining information on international students and exchange visitors and their dependents in the United States.
All international students at Florida's 11 public universities must pay a $100 SEVIS fee each year, but UF and the University of South Florida charge an additional "service fee" of $50 a semester for maintenance of the system.
Senators supporting the resolution said such a fee is discriminatory since only international students pay the fee.
International students represent 5.7 percent of UF's student body or 2,738 total students, according to the resolution.

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