evidence of other health insurance. The task force looked carefully at whether it should recommend returning to a mandatory program for undergraduates to improve provision and coordination of off-campus care, reduce administrative costs associated with the waiver process, and possibly reduce fees by increasing enrollment. Requiring all students to enroll in the SHP could yield significant improvements in the timeliness and quality of treatment. However, given the fact that none of our peer institutions requires mandatory participation in their plans, we are not recommending that undergraduate participation in the SHP be made mandatory at this time.
Of the 200 or more post-enrolled graduate students each year, only about 100 fail to qualify for employee health benefits as lecturers, fellows, or pre-doctoral research assistants. Our understanding is that the Dean of the Graduate School would support a reduction in the health fee for DCC students for the one year that they are eligible for that status. Therefore, we recommend that the University consider reducing the SHP fee for DCCs to the same fee that is charged to other graduate students, which has the effect of not charging DCCs an added amount for the one year of continued access to UHS.
As we compared Princeton’s Student Health Program with peer institutions and found it lagging behind with respect to the areas of coverage and plan design that our recommendations are intended to improve, we also discovered that Princeton’s fees were well below most of its peers. For example, Princeton’s student fee of $730 per year compares to $1,142 a year at Harvard, $1,568 a year at Brown, and $1,708 at Penn. We believe that it would be appropriate to increase Princeton’s fee to a level more comparable to its peers in order to offset the additional costs that will be incurred to implement our recommendations for expanded coverage, improved plan design, and lower costs for dependents.
In response to our January report, we received the following message on our website:
“First, thanks to the task force for asking for university-wide suggestions. It would be great if the Stephens Fitness Room could be enlarged or another area like it created with … a cleaner and larger stretch area (that black mat is tiny and disgusting, sorry to say); more cardio equipment, especially treadmills (at least one out of eight machines seems to be out of commission most days of the week) and the average wait for a machine during primetime is 12-15 minutes; possibly a staff-faculty fitness area so that staff—who have the least flexible schedules in the University community—can have access to fitness equipment at the end of the day. Of course, many are hoping that with the addition of 500 more students the University will build a new gym complex with truly useful spaces. The folks running Dillon are doing a great job with a small resource needed to serve a large population. A new facility designed to serve students, staff, and faculty would go a long way toward achieving the goal of improving the health and well being of the community.”