In the 2016-2017 academic year, the Pathway to Campus Enrollment organization rolled out a fee package that allows online students that live in the Gainesville area to “opt-in” to services that a traditional student would have. Every student is issued a Gator1 ID card; if you opt-in to the package, your ID will be white (it will look the same as a traditional student’s ID), and if you don’t, it will be orange. The color difference makes it easier for the staff to indicate whether you pay for the services or not. These services are entirely optional and include a multitude of perks. There is a lot of information on the official site, however I wanted to answer these questions including my own personal opinion.
What does it include?
Simply put, it includes activities and services, health services, university athletics, and transportation. To learn more about what this means, visit here. Basically anything that a traditional student can do, you can do. Your ID card looks identical to theirs.
How much does it cost?
Currently, it costs $46.21 per credit hour. This page has a calculator you can use to figure out what your estimated total would be. Your tuition as a PaCE student is already discounted, so if you choose not to opt-in to the fee package your cost of attendance will be even less.
Why do we have to pay extra?
You don’t, you just have the option. Traditional students automatically are charged for these fees. It’s given as an option because there would be no point in paying for it all if you did not live in Gainesville. They have no way of knowing if you’re deciding to live in the area, so they leave it up to you to enact the fees.
Should you do it?
When considering doing the fee package myself, the cost seemed rather high and I wasn’t sure if I would use everything offered. I ultimately opted-in because I figured that I was already planning to pay that cost regardless when deciding to attend college.
If you are living in the Gainesville area, I HIGHLY recommend opting in. That’s what it was designed for. I use it for nearly everything, and it allows me to do anything traditional students do.
If you are NOT living in Gainesville, do not opt-in, unless you enjoy wasting money. If you’re planning on visiting frequently I suppose you could opt-in as well.
You don’t have to opt-in right away. You can also choose to opt-in before the next semester. For example, let’s say you could not to opt-in in the Fall semester, you can always chose to opt-in in the Spring. This can be helpful for those who are living at home initially, that are later moving to campus. Be warned though, once you opt-out after opting-in, you can never opt-in again. I’m not quite sure why it’s done this way.
Great, where do I sign up?
Visit http://www.bsd.ufl.edu/G1C/. After logging in, select “UF Online / PaCE Optional Fee Package” located at the top of the page.
The optional fee program is great because it gives you the option to make getting your education more affordable. For any questions, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact the university at email@example.com or 352-392-8396.