A nickel a day

Last Thursday, the Student Fee Committee approved the Vanguard’s requested budget for the 2006-07 academic year, which includes $179,848 in student fee support.

If you’re like us, that probably seems like a lot of money. Seeing as that money is student money, we want you to know that we’re not just taking all that cash and going backstroking through our money bin Scrooge McDuck-style. In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, the following is a brief outline of our budget to show you how we are putting student money to good use:

Student fees are paid by students each year to fund Portland State’s 100-plus student programs, including athletics, student groups and student publications. This year each student pays $411 in student fees, with the $8.1 million total pot then allocated by the Student Fee Committee.

With just over 25,000 students expected to be attending PSU next fall, the Vanguard comes out to about $7 per student. That amounts to a little more than a nickel for each of the 120 issues we publish annually.

In addition to our $179,848 in student fee support, the Vanguard is budgeted to make $150,000 in revenue from advertising to offset the cost of our total budget of $329,848. This is an increase from our 2005-06 budget of $315,712, which includes $155,712 of SFC support.

Most of the increase in student fee support for next year is due to increased printing costs for the paper itself, reflecting a trend of rising newsprint prices across the nation.

During the initial round of budget hearings last week, we explained to the fee committee that by increasing our budget we were not seeking to expand our operations, but simply maintain them at the current level.

Our printing costs increased 5 percent Jan. 1, and our printer, Community Newspapers, has informed us that prices will increase again by 7 percent sometime during the next academic year. We estimate that we will spend $105,021 on printing next year.

The majority of our budget, $192,501, pays the newspaper staff. The Vanguard employs over 50 staff members between our editorial, photography, design, distribution and advertising departments. These are entirely student positions, most of which pay flat monthly stipends.