Green Fees

By: Jill Cordes
By: Jill Cordes

We think of green fees as what people pay at the golf course. But more than 60 universities nationwide have another kind of green fee. They're called "campus green fees".

Students pay a few dollars per semester to help fund sustainability and climate action projects. Millions of dollars are raised nationwide.

Some schools apply it to install solar panels on dorm roofs. Others purchase renewable energy from local utilities. And some put the money toward making their buildings more energy efficient. Campus buildings account for as much as 90% of a school's greenhouse gas emissions.

But some schools are resisting. Some won't allow fees imposed by student referendum. Others require state approval, and legislators have balked at what they see as a tax increase, even if students have given the fees a thumbs up.

Most green fees have only been put in place within the last five years, so their long-term effect hasn't been seen yet. But they're a clear sign of college students' willingness to pay a little extra now to help solve the climate crisis.


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