Tag Archives: Activity Fee

This Time, Please Pass the Student Activity Fee Increase

A single vote kept a $20 student activity fee raise from passing nearly one year ago. The fee, which is tacked onto every undergraduate’s tuition bill, sustains a fund that supports a range of activities, organizations, and infrastructure that directly and indirectly enriches student life at USF.

That missed opportunity will return this April 16-19, when undergraduates will again vote whether or not the activity fee—which remains stubbornly at $82, and which last year could have been increased to $102—gets raised. This time, the proposal includes only a $15 increase, to $97. And this year, it needs to pass.

For the past seven years, that pool of SAF cash has stagnated. The growing number of student organizations and accounts who depend on the student activity fee coupled with the rising costs of products, services, and stipend and salary requirements have worsened the already heavy strain on the finite pool. At this point, the only way to make more money available is to increase the number of undergraduates at USF, and that possibility is ruled out because USF and the City have agreed to cap enrollment to its present level.

As the Foghorn wrote a year ago when we advocated the $20 raise, the 21 issues that are printed each year is made possible by the fee, and covers editors’ stipends, pays for software upgrades, and offsets equipment purchases, among other things. So of course, the Foghorn has a vested interest in the outcome of the referendum. We won’t hide that.

But beyond us, the pool of money directly maintains university-supported organizations called funded accounts. The ASUSF Voices troupe, College Players, the Culturally Focused Club Council, the GO Team, USFTV, the Greek Council, ASUSF Senate, the Electoral Governing Board, the Graphics Center, and Los Locos draw the entirety of their funding from the pool of undergraduate activity fees. By each account’s constitution, they can operate only on this money, and cannot fundraise. What’s more, other clubs can access those same funds for events and travel expenses through the Senate-led and student-run Superfund Committee, which reviews clubs’ proposals on an ongoing basis through the academic year.

As it stands, the demand on that $450,000 source of revenue easily outstrips what is available. $15 more per person will far from meet every club and funded account’s requested budgets and allocations, but it’s a promising and urgently needed start.

Anyone who did or plans to: see a play on campus, attend a Fall Fest concert, watch a USFTV production, attend a Senate meeting, watch a film arranged by CAB, join a social Greek organization on campus, become part of a culturally-focused club, vote in a student election, lead a new student orientation, or, naturally, read an edition of the Foghorn—that should cover nearly everybody—owes a vote toward that $15 increase.

Activity Fee Increase Needed to Keep Student Presence Strong

In the upcoming student election, selecting senators and executives to serve on next year’s ASUSF Senate will not be the only thing voters will be asked to do. When students consider their ballot during the week of April 11, they will also be asked to choose whether their student activity fee should see a $20 increase; that is, whether the currently $82-per-semester surcharge should be raised to $102 per semester.

Full disclosure: The Foghorn relies largely on money collected from this fee (essentially a portion of your tuition) to support the majority of our operations and endeavors.

With that said, we urge the undergraduate student body to vote in favor of the activity fee increase.

The USF student activity fee is the fee collected from each undergraduate student that goes to support services and organizations geared to the student population. The 2010-2011 pool of all accumulated student activity fees was about $750,000.

This weekly newspaper is one concrete example of your activity fee at work. Funds from the fee also brought Jay Sean and other notables to the CAB Fall Fest concert last October. It likewise produced Augustana for the Jammin’ for Justice event this past weekend.

Organizations who are not funded accounts benefit as well. Student clubs who wish to display posters on university cork-boards and to distribute fliers to students turn to the Graphics Center (itself a funded account) for design and posting services.  And student-backed events are not lacking. Just this week, USF’s Muslim Student Association coordinated their weeklong Islam Awareness Week, which was funded in part by the Superfund Committee.

How the collective pool of students’ fees is split up goes something like this: During the budget season, the student-led Finance Committee distributes money to USF’s thirteen funded (ASUSF Senate, the Foghorn, College Players, and Academic Support Services are some of these). Money is also allocated to the Superfund and Club Funding committees, two deliberating bodies also comprising students which, over the course of the school year, distribute activity fee money to other clubs and organizations for their events.

The timing for the increase is spot-on. The last increase in the activity fee happened in 1995, when, (as is the case now) a Senate initiative for a $20 raise in the fee was placed on the student ballot.

According to the Senate, this year’s pool of student fees covered only 1/6 of student requests for money. Additionally, Los Locos,  gained approval from Senate to become a funded account, meaning that, with one more organization, the pool of student activity fees will be further stretched.

Students who have up to now pined for greater involvement and to have a greater say in student affairs now have their chance; in order for the resolution to pass, 25% of undergraduates must cast a ballot on Election Week, and of these votes, a majority is needed for approval. If undergraduates want to continue to see a strong, student-led presence on campus, all voters must approve the activity fee increase come April 15.