ASCSU endorses fee package

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Apr 282010
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

After debating a contested facility fee increase for more than an hour, the proposed $116.34-per-semester student fee increase squeaked through student government Wednesday night with just the number of votes needed to pass it forward to the CSU System Board of Governors with student approval.

Currently, students taking 15 credits pay $784.06 in student fees per semester, but if the BOG approves the measure in its June meeting, the bill will increase to $864.40.

Liberal Arts Sen. Jack Becker spoke out against the proposed $5 facility fee increase –– which would take the charge from $300 to $450 annually –– pleading with the Senate to either amend the fee package or vote it down in its entirety.

Facilities Management currently receives $10 per credit hour per semester ­­–– $300 each year –– from students, and with the $5 increase, it would see an $150 increase fund a series of projects.

The facility fee increase would fund $54 million in campus construction and renovation, $30 million of which would fund an additional engineering building.

Jessie Jankowski, who sits on the University Facility Fee Advisory Board that talked the department down from its original request to double the $10 fee, said the additional engineering building would allow CSU to establish the first biomedical engineering program in the state and alleviate space constraints in the college.

In addition, the fund increase would affect Eddy Hall, the Morgan Library, animal sciences, the Forestry Building and the Visual Arts Building.

The money to jumpstart these renovations and construction projects, Jankowski said, doesn’t exist.

Campus upkeep, Associated Students of CSU President-elect Cooper Anderson added, can heighten the profile of CSU, pointing to the University Center for the Arts, which houses programs that saw drastic improvements after the building was renovated.

“I believe this fee is worth it,” he said. “We have to balance access and affordability with enriching our degrees.”

Despite hours of debate and numerous attempts to remove or amend sections of the bill, including the facilities fee, by various senators, the bill passed in the same form approved by the Student Fee Review Board on April 19.

In addition to facilities, the increase will cushion budgets in Campus Recreation, the School of the Arts, the Association for Student Activity programming and ASCSU.

Campus Recreation, in addition to the $35 increase approved in 2008 that will take effect next year, requested 90 cents to fund a full-time injury care position.

ASAP’s increase would fund more co-programming and student-initiated programming.

The School of the Art’s increase would fund additional creative services positions and production costs.

The 75-cent increase requested by Anderson and ASCSU Vice President-elect Jennifer Babos will support the allocation of $15,308 to Student Media, $6,000 to Student Funding Board and $5,000 to producing the student handbook.

The extra $2,255 not allocated to those three areas will be distributed throughout the budget.

In addition to voiced support for the fee package, the Senate heard testimonies from two students who suggested the current climate of higher education might not support student fee increases on top of looming tuition hikes.

CSU Alumnus Remi Frazier, who is debating his return to CSU for a graduate degree, said for people who cover their own tuition and fees, the increase could greatly impact or inhibit their ability to get a CSU degree.

Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

About the student fee package

The package suggests increases to:
-The Association for Student Activity Programming, ASAP: $3.50 annually,
-The Associated Students of CSU: $1.50 annually,
-Campus Recreation: $1.80 annually,
-Facilities: $5 per credit hour, or $150 annually for a 15-credit student, and
-The School of the Arts: $5.88 annually.

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