For the second year in a row, the student incidental fee is set to rise, costing most Portland State students $35 more per term in fees. The 2007-08 student fee, set by the Student Fee Committee (SFC) Monday, will increase to $202 per term from $167 per term, or by 21 percent.
Student fee set to rise $35 next year
For the second year in a row, the student incidental fee is set to rise, costing most Portland State students $35 more per term in fees.
The 2007-08 student fee, set by the Student Fee Committee (SFC) Monday, will increase to $202 per term from $167 per term, or by 21 percent. Last year the fee increased by about 25 percent, after remaining stagnant for nearly three years.
The SFC is in charge of allocating close to $10 million in student fees to athletics and Portland State’s over 100 student groups, including the Vanguard. The SFC is an elected body within student government.
Full-time students will be charged $105 more in fees next year. SFC Chair Madeline Enos said that an expected decrease in enrollment for next year necessitates an increase in the student fee.
The student fee would have had to increase by at least $9 next year in any situation because of the decrease in enrollment. Fewer students means a greater cost for each student, Enos said, something previous committees have not had to deal with.
“We inherited a unique budget situation,” Enos said.
The SFC approved about $10.7 million in funding for student groups next year, about $1 million more than the nearly $9.7 million for this year. The SFC expects to pull in about $11 million from the student fee next year, which will leave the SFC with a 3 percent buffer.
The buffer will be absorbed into the 2008-09 budget if it is not spent next year. Close to $130,000 in reserve funds were included in the allocations for next year, which are set aside for emergencies or extra funding for student groups.
Rudy Soto was the only SFC member to vote against the increase. He said most students view the student fee as part of tuition and that the $35 increase could negatively affect many students’ personal budgets.
“It’s not just people involved in student groups who are paying the fee,” Soto said. “Where do we take into account how much students are paying?”
The amount of fees students pay depends on how many credits they take. Students registered for fewer than 12 credits pay on a sliding scale, from $36 for one credit to $155 for 11 credits. The summer fee for 12 or more credits is $100, and lowers for fewer credits.
The allocation process increased many student group budgets significantly, including the Vanguard’s, which increased by 17 percent for next year.
The Table Tennis Club budget increased by 75 percent, the American Society of Civil Engineers budget increased by 104 percent, and the Pacific Islander Club budget increased by 194 percent. (SFC member Makerusa Porotesano is president of the Pacific Islander Club.)
Porotesano said he excused himself from the committee during appeals for the Pacific Islander Club so there was no perceived conflict of interest. He submitted a letter to the committee asking for an increase.
“A lot of times I think we should be more selective,” Soto said about the allocation process.
Enos said the budget increases to student groups were necessary, in many cases, for the groups to run efficiently. Many groups’ initial budget requests were much higher than they were allotted. The Chamber Choir requested about $151,000, but was only given about $20,000.
“It reflects not a sort of greed, as much as evidence for need of personnel,” Enos said.
Some student groups’ budgets for next year decreased compared to this year’s allocation. The Dancer’s Club budget decreased by 49 percent and the Black Cultural Affairs Board budget decreased by 20 percent.
The SFC had the option to make an across-the-board cut on all student groups budgets, a move that could have eliminated the student fee increase. Enos said a cut would not be in the best interest of student groups.
Some groups’ budgets are so tight, Enos said, that cutting even a small percentage of their budgets would destroy them by forcing the groups to cut necessary staff and services.
“That could be potentially devastating to organizations,” Enos said.
The fee was submitted to the student senate last night and the senate will vote to approve or reject the fee next week. The fee will then be sent to PSU President Daniel Bernstine for approval.
The fee must be submitted to both by April 16, the Oregon University System deadline.
The student fee includes a 1 percent charge for indirect costs, a new charge for administrative costs (such as filing paperwork in human resources or the business office) that all student groups must pay starting next year.
Enos said PSU students control the student fee and the SFC is in charge of fulfilling students’ wishes. She said the allocations reflect the desires of students and she hopes that she and the other SFC members represented the student body accurately.
SFC final allocations: $10,740,346 (partial list below)
ASPSUInitial request: $318,8272007 final allocation: $293,7092008 final allocation: $300,100Change: 2 percent increase
AthleticsInitial request: $3,203,1272007 final allocation: $2,546,6872008 final allocation: $2,763,843Change: 9 percent increase
Food for ThoughtInitial request: $64,1032007 final allocation: $29,1002008 final allocation: $32,592Change: 12 percent increase
KPSU RadioInitial request: $172,2092007 final allocation: $150,2222008 final allocation: $172,209Change: 15 percent increase
VanguardInitial request: $246,6242007 final allocation: $174,4532008 final allocation: $203,544Change: 17 percent increase
Smith CenterInitial request: $944,2142007 final allocation: $777,0362008 final allocation: $913,414Change: 18 percent increase
SALP Initial request: $906,2782007 final allocation: $690,3742008 final allocation: $804,109Change: 16 percent increase
Women Resource CenterInitial request: $190,1292007 final allocation: $151,0752008 final allocation: $178,704Change: 18 percent increase
Jewish Student UnionInitial request: $9,7052007 final allocation: $6,6492008 final allocation: $8,897Change: 34 percent increase