Could Your Student Activity Fee Be Utilized Better?

According to the student body president, your student activity fee is being used in an old, antiquated earmarking system and money needs to be redistributed among other departments.

By Vinny Masocol

Photo Credit: Vinny Masocol

“During the pandemic, there was no one running for student government, and then I sent this giant email to the entire campus going, like, this is insane, students pay a student activity fee,” said Michael Ivany, CSI student body president. “Students need a voice, they need to be heard, especially during this time.”

The student activity fee you pay is not being used correctly according to the student government; money should be re-allocated from departments with a surplus to others in need.

Enrollment at CSI has decreased since 2019. Once the pandemic hit in 2020, less student activity fees had been collected, which meant less money to go around. 

The student government began to question how the funds are being used to service the needs of the students and raised the possibility of the allocation of funds by departments that have a lot more in surplus.

Jamel Osbia, the student government coordinator, explained the fee in greater detail and how it aids the students. According to Osbia, the student government is very transparent when it comes to the use of this fee.

“The whole budget is student activity fees, which is broken down between various departments,” said Osbia. “But everything that we fund, we always let students know is from, you know, a part of their tuition. Everything that we do is from the student activity fees.”

The student government budget is just a part of what your student activity fee is paying for. It is only 11%, but the student fee is $138.15 if you are a full-time student, $102.15 for part-time students, and $72.15 for those who choose to attend summer sessions. 

The fee also goes to College Athletics, the Campus Activity Board, the Children Center, and the Radio Station WSIA, as Osbia went on to explain.

The student body government’s percentage of the fee is a small part of these funds; part of it is given to the library every year to supplement the little funds they get from other places. 

At the most recent meeting, chief librarian Amy Stempler requested a sum of $30,000, which would go towards the streaming service Kanopy for professors and students’ usage, DVD’s professors use in classes, and books that some students may need for their courses if they cannot afford or obtain it elsewhere.

Michael Ivany, the student body president, does not feel that the entire student activity fee is being utilized towards the needs of the students and needs to be changed.

“Is the fee used best to fit the needs of the students? I would say no, I think the fee needs an update and re-allocation. There is a lot of needs of the students in the twenty-first century versus the earmarking’s that were made, like, since the 80’s,” said Ivany. “The fee has not been changed since 2015 and inflation has gone skyrocketing.”

Ivany went on to give an example of how this issue could be fixed and funds could be redistributed.

“There are some folks that get money and don’t use the money, so for example the publication has a surplus of a little over half a million and there is only one publication currently, which is The Banner,” said Ivany. “And they have a portion of the fee that’s allocated to them that could go towards the accounting office, which is in a deficit right now, or for sustainability efforts, or maybe the transportation earmarking needs to be looked at.”

Samantha Samy, a student government senator and commissioner on the Academic and Curricular Affairs Commission, believes that the money is not being misappropriated.

“Some uses of the student activity fee I feel are absolutely perfect and give students something that they really benefit from,” said Samy. “And others can be a little bit more gray area.”

Categories: Campus, News

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