Tampa, FL -- For the past three years, University of South Florida students have been able to study overnight at the school's main library from Sunday through Thursday.
But with dwindling cash reserves, USF administrators say they can no longer pay for the overnight hours, something that started three years ago when the school's reserves topped $215 million.
"In the context of the problems the university faces, to stop depleting our cash reserves, we're basically out of it," USF interim Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Thomas Miller told reporters on Friday afternoon.
Cutting the overnight hours would save the school about out $135,000 a year.
Officials say an average of 500 to 600 students a night have taken advantage of the overnight hours.
The decision to cut 24/5 hours has prompted student protests and a petition drive which resulted in more than 1,400 signatures in the first day alone.
PHOTOS: USF students protest library hours
However, Miller on Friday suggested a solution to restoring the hours may be close to being worked out by essentially using student fees to cover the costs.
"If we work out an arrangement with student government, we think we can re-open the late hours in three weeks."
But when 10 News asked the head of the student body about the idea, he wasn't so quick to endorse any plan using student fees. William Warmka said a school with a $1.1-billion budget should be able to find $135,000 to keep open what many consider a symbol of higher learning.
"We understand budget cuts have to be made and funding issues, but we would feel the library would be one of the last things you would want to cut," Warmka said.