Dues & Fees Increase

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By now you may have heard (or read our February 8th news post) what will be extensively reported in the April issue of Parachutist—USPA has raised dues as well as license and ratings fees, effective April 1st. I can guess your initial reaction; no one likes to pay more for anything. And you can bet that the issue was extensively debated at the February board meeting. But the board was faced with the reality that dues and fee increases had to happen. Here’s why. USPA ended 2008 spending just over $500,000 more than it took in. Part of the reason was the stock market. USPA has a rainy day fund of over $1.5 million invested, and most years we’re able to count as revenue the interest earned as well as the increased value of the stocks. But not last year. Add to that the rise in cost of providing basic services. Importantly, 2008 was the fourth year in a row of red ink, so the decision was made to come up with a balanced 2009 budget that doesn’t depend on investments.

But USPA wouldn’t ask you to pay more before we cut expenses first, which we started doing mid-2008. Largely through attrition we’ve reduced staff to 14 full-timers, down from the high of 24 in 1999. We’ve also trimmed other areas so that proposed expenses for 2009 are $161,000 less than what was budgeted in 2008. Not only that, 2009’s proposed expenses are also less than what we spent in 2007 and 2006. Still, we needed to find new sources of revenue in order to come up with a balanced budget for 2009. So, individual member renewal dues were raised by six dollars to $55. First-year member dues were increased by $14 to $65, largely to help recover the cost of PR efforts to attain new skydivers. License fees were increased by $10 and ratings fees and the rating renewal fee were also raised by $10. Group Member dues paid by DZs were increased by 25%. Here are the new rates:

New membership–$65 (paid only one time, ever)
Renewing membership–$55
License fee–$30
New coach rating–$35
New instructor rating–$50
Rating renewal–$30 (for one or multiple ratings)
New PRO rating–$65
PRO rating renewal–$15/35 (no card/new or replacement card*)

New Group Member Dues
Category 1–$250
Category 2–$375
Category 3–$750

Renewal Group Member Dues
Category 1–$125
Category 2–$250
Category 3–$500

* edited 3/31 to change “PRO rating renewal–$15/35 (one-year/two-year)” to “PRO rating renewal–$15/35 (no card/new or replacement card*)”

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22 Responses to “Dues & Fees Increase”

  1. Les Says:

    Does this come with a nice tall jar of vaseline?

  2. mts0628 Says:

    Hello: well, hard times hit everywhere, and it seems as no one is immune to the financial burden that we as a country have suffered. But it hopefully will get better. When it does, will the USPA reduce the fees to reflect the improving economic times as it has during the sour ones? As someone who has many “hobbies” and believe me- skydiving is my most favorite, I would hate to have to pick and choose which ones I might have to cutaway one day because of an increase here and then an increase there, and as we know everything in skydiving is affected. I hope to have many years in the blue skies but if things get much worse, I may have to combat the pressure of these inconveniences from skydiving with a full time return to the increased pressures of the deep as in scuba diving- which incidentally has not (yet) suffered the nickle-and-diming as a result of hard times and is cheaper in all aspects. This is just an observation. On a lighter note, thank you USPA for holding out as long as you did.

    • Ed Scott Says:

      Our primary concern is the ability of our members to skydive; this includes the financial ability to skydive. If the economy recovers, or some other circumstances arise, to the point where we have a larger surplus than needed to ensure reasonable financial stability for the organization, we would absolutely consider a dues decrease. The harsh reality of the situation, however, is that USPA dues have not kept up with inflation and a huge surplus anytime in the near future is unlikely.

      The dues increase hurts us – individually – as much as it does you; every skydiving staff member or director pays exactly the same dues as any other jumper, so we definitely feel your pain.

  3. TANDEM GUY Says:

    I dont see an account for the frivolous Lawsuit brought against Skyride and their legitamite buisiness. How much did this action cost, brought at the behest, and only in order to, protect certain other members buisiness operations.

    As usual, as with my own experience with the airport access fund, USPA flexes its muscle on behalf of those in power, while the rest of us are left out in the cold.

    Its all about who ya know!!

    JUSTIN P SILVIA
    D15898

    • Ed Scott Says:

      As you’ve likely heard countless times before, the confidential settlement agreement prevents us from directly addressing your concerns about the SkyRide lawsuit. And while it’s probably not going to convince you, we can honestly say that every person involved did what they believed to be right for the individual skydiver.

      The financial statement will be published in the May issue of Parachutist, and we’ll be sure to bring everyone’s attention to it through this blog and our other online outlets (USPA news, twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.).

      In regards to your airport access issues of some years ago, I’m sorry circumstances didn’t work out in your favor. If you contact us directly, maybe we can sort things out so that you feel confident depending on the Airport Access Defense fund and USPA’s support in the future.

  4. Marko Says:

    Well maybe if they didnt spend 50,000$ + for every meeting thet had maybe we wouldnt have to pay more money…the fees will keep increasing and never get cheaper!! ridiculous!

  5. CW Says:

    This doesn’t surprise me nor should it surprise anyone else. In hard economic times like these, it’s very difficult to expect to be able to have your cake and eat it too. Surely the cost of jump slots was affected by increased fuel prices, but we kept on going. This is no different. Raising rates is a very normal and standard thing for an organization to do in response to a deflated economy. Believe me, as a poor college student who got sucked in to skydiving during a period of economic struggle of my own, I understand. But, this is a great sport and we need USPA to help keep it going. If paying a little more–especially by those who hold full-time non-skydiving related jobs, and can most likely afford to shell out $10 extra once or twice–is what needs to happen, that’s just what needs to happen.

  6. Dean Widerman Says:

    Why, oh why didn’t I become a lifetime member when it only cost $300??

  7. RossDC Says:

    Indeed I was hoping to join as a lifetime member this year – until I saw the cost had gone to $1000! What with the Pound to Dollar exchange rate right now, I think it’s fair to say you can forget that idea. 😦

  8. Matt Says:

    Can you explain the PRO rating renewal?
    $15 for one year, $35 for two years? How does this affect currency?
    Chouldn’t it have been $30 for two years?

  9. Billy Vance Says:

    Frivolous lawsuit brought against Skyride by USPA? Tandem Cowboy, you’ve got it backwards.

    As for airport access issues, if you people would have behaved yourselves at the drop zone, you wouldn’t have to move so much.

  10. Oops! « USPA HQ Blog Central Says:

    […] USPA HQ Blog Central An insider peek into USPA headquarters « Dues & Fees Increase […]

  11. David McNeil Says:

    Why is it that we as a group will pay $4500 to $6000 for a new rig but $10-$20 extra dollars seems like a big deal. I would think that if the USPA is in need of more financial help it would be in our best intrest to donate as much as possible. I fell in love wiht this sport because of the people that you meet and how gret everyone is whether your a first time jumper or a pro, everyone was willing to help each other out. Why not wiht this? To me it wouldnt matter if the USPA raised prices by 50 dollars. If they needed the help Id be there to help, Just like at the DZ.

  12. omar Says:

    Guys..I think we need to chill up a bit here. This increase to dues and fees it is not to much to ask, anyone can afford a couple extra dollars more to cover for the bad times.USPA it’s the only face that we as skydivers have to protect us from govement, authorities or others that dont likes us very much.If you think you can survive as skydiver and kep jumping without representation ……good luck. Keep up the good work USPA Omar Bardales A 50686

  13. Lorenz Schuhmann Says:

    I left USPA about 6 years ago and I`m still jumping without a
    USPA- licence all over the globe. I was a USPA member for more
    then 25 years, but everytime I made a inquiry to USPA I never
    received an answer. My german licence, which is issued for
    lifetime, no renewal and no more annual fees, will be accepted
    from every country. American citizens are covered by a insurence,
    but foreigners pay more a year compared to american members and
    still have no insurance coverage. What a poor club.
    I will never join USPA in my life.

    • Ed Scott Says:

      Lorenz, so sorry you had a poor experience with USPA; if you try us now I think you will see improvement. We must charge more for memberships by international jumpers because it costs more to serve them, including monthly Parachutist mailings. USPA’s membership insurance covers anyone jumping in the U.S., regardless of where they are from.

    • Dianna Burch O'Dell Says:

      Hi! I am looking for Swamp Heathens. My father Donnie Burch was stationed in Germany and was a skydiver.

  14. Rob Says:

    Well guy’s and galls you should try paying 4 times as much for the UK equivalent
    membership

  15. jeff in p town Says:

    i let my membership laps due to having kids and working so much.can i give my license # and start paying again or due i have to retest?

    • Clint Vincent Says:

      Jeff, The short answer is:
      Pay again – yes
      Retest – no

      The long answer:
      As long as you maintain currency with your membership, your USPA/FAI licenses are also current. There are no further requirements to maintain or renew a membership and/or license.

      However, due to obvious safety issues, your currency as a jumper should be reviewed by a current USPA Instructor or S&TA before you make a jump. There are guidelines in the SIM (Section 5-2) that can assist you in recurrency training.

      Note that these are only guidelines. There are many factors that come into play when currency is questioned – total number of jumps, time away from the sport, past performance, etc.

      Clint Vincent
      Director of Membership

  16. Captain Says:

    Frivolous Lawsuit brought against Skyride? Just google Skyride and see the horror stories. This so-called company has left a trail of fraud and other illegal activity for years. I can’t understand why the people running this scam haven’t been arrested already.

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