Leaders of the University of Illinois at Chicago have agreed to hike student fees to help fund sex-change operations.
On Wednesday, trustees of the public university voted to approve a change in the students’ health insurance plan fee that includes coverage of gender reassignment surgery.
The vote was 6-2, with two Republican trustees voting against the change.
Students pay the health insurance plan fee unless they have another form of health insurance.
The changes approved Wednesday ups the plan’s cost by about $60 per semester. Of that increase, roughly $4.50 a semester - or $9 per year – is designed to cover the costs associated with students who opt for the surgery, said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the campus, in an interview with The College Fix.
Burton described the increase as “incremental” and emphasized the effort to add the benefit to the students’ health insurance plan was “student driven.”
“Students (initiated) this, students backed it,” Burton said, adding the new benefit was endorsed by the Chicago campus’ Student Fee Advisory Committee.
Campus documents given to trustees, however, stated the president of the university approved of the change as well.
The new benefit is slated to kick in come 2014. Burton said colleges offering gender reassignment surgery is nothing new.
“There is a great many other universities that offer this – at least 37 that we are aware of,” he said, adding it’s pretty rare for students to opt for the surgery.
“Of those 37 universities, 19 are covered under Aetna, and according to Aetna, there’s only been seven claims (for sex-change operations) among those 19 schools,” he said.
Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix.