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Students will shell out more for health care next semester

Bradley students can expect to see a rise in the health fee for the 2011-2012 school year.

The increase of the fee from $72 a semester to somewhere between $92 and $102 is intended to cover the hiring of a new counselor as well as pay for a variety of still under consideration features.

“We definitely have assessed the ratio of counselors to students and we’re on the low end of the range,” Student Development and Health Services Executive Director Joyce Shotick said. “Right now, we have one counselor for every thousand students.”

The need for counselors was highlighted in the recent tragic death of Junior Phil Kaiser in October.

“When we have emergencies or tragedies that’s when it weighs heavily on the counselors,” Shotick said. “When [Kaiser] passed, suddenly we had 200 people coming to counseling.”

Along with the need for counselors to be able to deal with emergency situations, the increase to the health fee covers the increase in the university’s contract with OSF Saint Francis as well as covering immunizations.

“The increase will cover a few more tests being done by the Health Center, such as tuberculosis and tetanus,” Shotick said. “We used to be able to obtain immunizations from the Peoria Health Department and they’re not providing them free anymore.”

Although the increase to the health fee would mainly be put toward use with medical supplies and personnel, the health department is looking to invest in a new program that would encourage drinking safety among freshmen.

The survey, developed by Out of the Classroom and endorsed by the Department of Education, would require freshmen to fill out a survey indicating their level of alcohol and drug usage. An e-mail would then be sent to them encouraging safer consumption habits for all people.

“It sends very tailored messages,” Shotick said. “If you’re a person that doesn’t drink at all and doesn’t want to start, you’ll get messages on a regular basis that will tell you how to keep that lifestyle up.”

This update to the health fee would be the last to up the cost for more than three years, so administrators would like to be able to consider their options of what to do with the money carefully and weigh the possibilities.

“We want to put the students in the best possible health position for the next three years,” Shotick said.

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