In 2008, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville began its transition from Division II to Division I athletics. Today, its men's basketball games are broadcast to millions and ticket sales are at historic highs. Donations more than tripled in 2013 from five years earlier.
But joining the big boys comes with a cost — one that has placed a growing burden on students at the small school about 20 miles outside of St. Louis.
In 2005, the fee students pay to help fund the athletic department was $113 per year. One of almost a dozen fees students pay, it reached $235 by 2009. This school year it will be $352.80. Student fees account for more than half of the athletic department's revenue.