Mar 012007
 
Authors: Vimal Patel

Students could pay $135 more in fees next year, according to an increase proposed earlier this week.

The 14 percent student-fee boost would fund various campus departments. The bulk would go toward Lory Student Center operations, Harshorn Health Services and athletics.

Students currently pay about $950 a year in student fees. If the proposal is approved, that would jump to $1,085.

The increase represents the largest in at least the last decade excluding last year, which included the implementation of a new $10 per credit university facility fee.

Each student would pay $167 to fund athletics operations under the proposal, 22 percent more than they currently pay.

Paul Kowalczyk, CSU athletics director, said CSU athletics funding is dead last compared with Mountain West Conference peers, and that a strong athletics department bolsters the entire university.

“We need a successful athletics department to help our institutional image,” he said. “If you look at all the top public research institutions in the country, they not only have outstanding academic reputations but they have nationally recognized athletics programs.”

The Student Fee Review Board – the student panel that makes recommendations about how much of the money goes where – met in the Lory Student Center on Monday, when administrators presented the board with the proposed changes.

The SFRB is set to mull over the proposed changes and make recommendations to President Larry Penley, who will present the proposal to the board of governors. The board has the final say, said Blanche Hughes, vice president for student affairs.

Still, the recommendations of the SFRB go far.

“It’s kind of the voice of the students,” said Sadie Conrad, Associated Students of CSU vice president and chair of the SFRB. “I do not know of a case where the board voted against the (recommendations of the SFRB).”

Yearly student-fee funding for Lory Student Center operations, currently at $146, would jump to $177 under the propsal – a 21 percent increase. Hartshorn Health Services funding would jump 13 percent, to $247 per student.

The increase in Hartshorn funding would go toward increased liability and prescription costs.

“Hartshorn is really desperate for an infusion in cash,” said Mark Settle, a member of the SFRB.

The senior economics and political science double major called the rate of student-fee increases over the last few years “ludicrous,” and encouraged all students to attend the weekly SFRB meetings, scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday in Room 205 of the Lory Student Center.

But he also said many of the increases, including the one proposed for Hartshorn, would grab student support.

“It’s unfortunate student fees have to rise so fast, but in many cases it’s necessary,” he said.

The SFRB should make its final recommendations about April, and the final board of governors’ approval usually happens in June.

For now, various campus departments are set to make their respective pitches in front of the SFRB. Hartshorn is set for Monday, and athletics is set for March 19.

Athletics funding would increase to about $4 million, up from its current range of about $3.2 to $3.3 million, Kowalczyk said.

The student-fee funding boost would greatly help, and would be one of multiple funding streams Kowalczyk said are needed to help balance the athletics budget.

And a stronger sports department increases the prominence of CSU, and a more prominent CSU increases the value of every student’s degree, Kowalczyk said.

“It’s hard to see the benefit right now, but there has to be some trust and faith that we’re doing the right thing,” he said, “Not just for athletics, but the university as a whole.”

Managing Editor Vimal Patel can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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