Student fees to increase

Students will pay about $50 more for student activites next year to fight drooping enrollment


Photo by Ryan Alme

Story by Raina Beutel, Staff Writer

Student Senate will vote Monday to battle waning enrollment and other factors with a student fee increase to fund its annual organized activities budget.

Senate’s budget, introduced at its first meeting of spring semester Monday, calls for a 9 percent segregated fee bump to fund student organizations and activities covered by the $4.2 million organized activities budget.

If Senate passes the bill in its current form, students will pay $488 in segregated fees next year— up from $439 this year. The increase compensates for declining enrollment, lower-than-expected revenue in 2014 and decreasing balances in organized activity accounts.

Christian Paese, Senate finance director, said the increase aims to provide services that will attract and retain students.

“We had to keep reminding ourselves that we pay these fees too, and so we had to weigh priorities,” Paese said.

The budget calls for a 36 percent funding increase for Counseling Services, which amounts to an extra $65,000 next year.

The money will fund one of two Counseling Services positions set to go dark after the short-term funding two years ago expires. Housing and Residence Life will fund the other counseling position.

“Initially we agreed to fund two of them, but now we’ve been able to work with Housing (and Residence Life), and they’re going to pay for half and we will pay the other half,” Paese said.

Paese said it’s important for students to know where their dollars are being spent.

“And at the same time, really a level of skepticism, to make sure we are keeping things in check,” Paese said.

Student Body President Sam Fish said he is unsure of what the near future holds for the Senate due to changes for the UW-System at the state level.

“We’re trying to figure out where we are and what we can do to make this as least of a rocky ride as possible,” Fish said.