LU students facing higher health insurance costs

Lincoln University Curators voted Thursday to increase student testing and health insurance costs, even though they voted to hold in-state, undergraduate tuition rates at the same level as this current year.

The health insurance increase is substantial, “but it’s because ... of the Patient Protection Act,” Student Affairs Vice President Theressa Ferguson explained.

Students currently pay $247.50 per semester for a policy with a maximum $50,000 benefit.

But, under the national health care law that takes full effect next year, the benefit climbs to $500,000 — and is unlimited in the years after that — and the federal law requires all Americans to have health insurance, including students, unless they can remain on their parents’ policy.

Curators were told the higher benefits are a large portion of the increased costs.

So, under the approved new rates for the 2013-14 school year, undergraduate students will pay $689.50 per semester, graduate students $823 per semester, and international students $651.50 each semester.

Taking tests at LU also will cost more, starting in the fall.

Curators approved, by a 4-1 vote, a standard administrative testing fee of $15 per student, per hour — with a $30 minimum.

Controller Sandy Koetting told the board Thursday the change was recommended by Lincoln’s Strategic Planning and Budget Review Committee.

The school has expenses for the computer equipment needed to take tests like the CLEP (College-Level Examination Program, which allows students to get credit for a course they don’t take by showing they already know the material); MAT (Miller Analogies Test used for admission to graduate-level programs); and C-BASE (College Basic Academic Subjects Examination, a test of general educational knowledge which is required in Missouri to take educator preparation programs).

LU also pays the people who administer the tests and remain in the testing room while students are taking it.

“Those administrative fees range anywhere from $2.50 for a test to $25 per test,” Koetting explained. “When you look at some of the other institutions — for example, on the C-BASE ... we charge $2.50 but others charges as much $35.50 on top of the costs of the exam. ...

“We’re kind of all over the board with that, but we’re certainly behind in many places.”

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