By Mark Schofield, OregonLive staff writerWhen a group of students from a rural college set up camp on a remote Idaho ski resort to celebrate the opening of their new lodge, they didn’t expect the $1,500 lodge entrance fee to make it into their budget.
The lodge, the first of its kind in the state, has been open for several weeks and the university is giving out free admission to everyone who passes through its doors.
But that was just the beginning.
The students also were surprised to learn the lodge had a $5 entry fee.
And when they tried to add the fee to their budget, the school’s finance department told them they could only add the money to the cost of the lodge.
“So we didn’t even go there,” said Lauren Larkin, one of the students.
The students were disappointed that the school didn’t tell them the cost.
They were also frustrated that the college wasn’t willing to refund the students money for a mistake they made.
“I’m not really sure why this was not taken into consideration,” said Larkin.
The university told the students that if they don’t want to pay the $5 fee for the lodge, there are a number of other options for them.
The school says they will refund the tuition to the students for the first three months of the next academic year.
If the students want to continue using the lodge for a year, the university will refund their first year’s tuition and then a second year’s.
Larkin and the other students are hopeful that the tuition money will make up for the $10 entry fee that is now part of their $7,500 budget.
“We had to spend a lot of money on it and it didn’t really come out of pocket,” said Jennifer Sauer, another student.
Sauer said the school is trying to make the lodge accessible for more people.
“If they can’t afford the fee, then they should be able to make up the difference and we’re not here to just make it up,” she said.
The other option is to use the money from the student lodge and give it to the school.
The student group wants to use some of the money they earned from the lodge to pay for a new car to help pay for it.
Lakanson, the lodge’s manager, said she’s aware the students are frustrated and said she has offered to help.
“For the most part, they want to keep it,” she told KGW.
“They just want it to be in their own hands.
We just want to make sure it’s all accounted for and not a burden.”