Mar 052007
 
Authors: Emily Polak, Vimal Patel

Hartshorn Health Services needs more money to deal with the increased costs of healthcare and to offset the burden of prescription costs, the center’s director told a student funding board Monday.

HHS is looking to increase student fees by 13 percent next year to $123 per semester from its current $109.

“It’s certainly the biggest increase I’ve been a part of asking for,” said Stephen Blom, HHS director. But he added: “Healthcare costs are rising at twice the cost of inflation.”

HHS, along with Campus Recreation and the University Counseling Center, made presentations to the Student Fee Review Board, a student advisory board that makes recommendations to the CSU board of governors.

Students currently pay about $950 a year in student fees. If proposed increases are approved, fees could increase to about $1085 a year.

The 14 percent student fee spike would represent the largest ever, excluding last year, which included the implementation of a $10 per credit university facility fee.

Campus Recreation is requesting a 10 percent increase in funding for various improvements, including custodial services and new equipment for intramural programs.

“This is basically the cost of doing business,” said Judy Muenchow, director of Campus Recreation.

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, and a final budget will be approved about June.

The University Counseling Center is requesting an increase of $2.29 per semester in student fees. It currently receives $33.64 per semester.

Michael Daine, director of the UCC, said he wants to improve preventive services, which will reap long-term benefits.

“If you can do prevention services, you can save a lot of money,” he said.

Sadie Conrad, vice president of Associated Students of CSU and chair of the SFRB, said the board is an advisory board, but that the CSU board of governors generally heed the SFRB’s recommendation.

And this time around, she said, there are several worthy requests.

“They all make a really good case for the direct benefits of students,” Conrad said.

The health center, which currently gets the biggest chunk of student fees, is facing increased challenges dealing with national legislation curtailing funding safety nets, Blom said.

For instance, HHS will have to pay about an extra $187,000 for birth-control pills and other birth-control items. Although the legislation is being fought, prices for customers will have to be raised next year, he said.

He added that HHS, like all campus health centers, has to weather the double whammy of the nationwide trend of increased education and healthcare costs.

“The health center is caught in the cross roads,” he said.

Staff writer Emily Polak and Managing Editor Vimal Patel can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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