The fight to end late fees

Fake $100 hanging in the window of the Money Management Center.

The Young Democratic Socialists of America at Weber State University have been fighting since early this year to get rid of late fees at WSU in order to support students heavily affected by the penalty of late fees.

In response to the impact late fees have, YDSA has started a petition that has, as of now, gotten around 250 signatures. After speaking with the student body president of WSU, YDSA sent the petition to WSU President Brad Mortensen but has yet to receive any feedback from him.

Since pairing up with WSU’s NAACP, Student Senate and the LGBTQ student organization, their push to rid WSU of late fees has gained a large following. They have gained almost 100 signatures since the beginning of the fall semester and still hope to gain more.

“We just feel that this issue is very important, as it impacts some of the most vulnerable students, specifically the students in the university that happen upon financial hardships,” Spencer Fox, Vice Chair of YDSA, said. “We feel it’s a bit of a regressive tax; that’s the reason that it kind of resonated with so many people.”

Since Weber State is a public university, and Ogden is considered one of the poorer municipalities in the state of Utah, YDSA feels that the late fees are hindering WSU students. The punishment of late fees especially penalizes non-traditional students and those from marginalized backgrounds.

“People are choosing whether to eat or pay tuition, and when they do eat, they feel bad for making that decision,” Nate Holland, treasurer for YDSA, said. “These people are not very represented and not really heard.”

YDSA’s mission is to help students at WSU feel heard and to protect the interests of the student body. Through their petition and their surveys, they have tried to give a voice to the students who are most affected by the university’s late fees.

The organization wants to highlight not only the original late fee’s costs, but the interests that those fees can rack up, and how quickly a $40 fee can turn into crippling debt for WSU students.

“Currently, there’s a non-refundable $40 fee that gets added 30 days after the beginning of the semester,” Brexton Olesky-Lee, Chair for YDSA, said. “Twelve percent interest fee is added on top of the late fee as early as four weeks after. There’s a one percent collection fee added each week. Twelve percent APR is almost the type of debt you get from credit cards. The university essentially sending its students into credit card debt is just absolutely ridiculous.”

YDSA wants WSU to be a place of learning. To do that, they want to make sure everyone gets the chance to learn without worrying about fees and interest due to a late payment by pushing WSU away from relying on late fees during their yearly budgeting.

“Part of our club’s overarching goals is increasing class consciousness and solidarity, so we would just like the students at Weber State to understand that we’re one body, and we all have shared interests because of our place in the university as students, so coming together on this issue is a great way to show that solidarity and to show the university that we are stronger together,” Fox said.