A proposed student activity fee increase has sparked mixed reactions from the university community.
Undergraduate Student Government members supported the $10 fee increase at their Oct. 23 meeting, which would put the fee at $47.70. USG Senate President Adrian Miller said he thinks the increase would benefit students in the long run. He said USG gets many fee proposals, but this is one he strongly believes needs support.
Don Castle, Student Center programs associate director, proposed the fee increase to the group in September, and the Board of Trustees will decide whether to approve it sometime in the spring, Castle said.
USG Vice President Corbin Doss said students would control how their fee money is used because the Student Programming Council and USG will allocate the funds.
USG allocated $123,000 to the programming council this year, but, USG would no longer give money to SPC from its budget with the fee increase because $10 from each student would equal $300,000 in Student Programming’s budget.
Castle said the increase would benefit everyone.
“USG will have $120,000 remaining in their account to disperse amongst RSO’s, the SPC will have the proper funding to give students the college experience they deserve, and students can remain on their own campus to enjoy themselves,” Castle said.
Miller said it would also guarantee consistent and adequate funding for Student Programming events and allow them to be more mainstream.
“This is a fee that will directly affect the students and will give them complete control because they will determine where the money goes,” Doss said.
He said USG’s most important goal is high retention and enrollment, and the increase will allow more money to be allocated to RSOs.
“Statistics show that if a student is involved in an RSO and that RSO is doing well, that student will succeed,” Doss said.
Miller said students’ university experiences should be memorable. He said the fee increase will allow them to enjoy the college experience at their own university instead of having to travel to other places.
“If you think about the amount of money spent on driving to another university and the amount of money spent to get into those events, this $10 fee will pay off a lot in the long run,” Miller said.
Oliver Keys, a USG senate member who is also a part of the USG funding committee, said allocating money can be difficult.
“This fee can bring bigger and better things to campus as well as give more money back to students when they request it for their individual events,” he said.
While USG members said they think the increase has several benefits, James Phoenix, an undeclared graduate student from Belvidere, said he thinks the university has increased enough fees, and this one will only continue the pattern.
“I think student events on campus are important because they allow students to socially interact outside of the classroom,” Phoenix said. “However, we have had enough fees increased in the past, and $10 may not seem like a lot but it adds up over time.”
Ashley Robinson, a freshman from Rockford studying political science, said while she understands the fee will make more events possible, the increase should be a decision the students are involved in.
“If it’s something they say we have control of, then they should go beyond USG to get support,” Robinson said. “They should involve the entire student body as well.”
The student activity fee has not increased since May 2002, Castle said. He said he hopes students understand the increase is meant to help them.
“We want to make this a better school for the students,” he said. “We never want them to feel like we’re being insensitive. They’re who we’re thinking about entirely.”
Doss said various student organizations such as athletics, the Student Center and Recreation Center are allocated by the administration, but this fee is one that the student government controls.