Tag Archives: increase

Student Activity Fee to Increase in 2011-12

The ASUSF Senate, the governing body of the undergraduate students at USF, allocates the money collected by the Student Activity Fee every semester. This funding currently supports significant aspects of student life such as iconic student events like CAB’s FallFest Concert, Kasamahan’s Barrio, International Student Association’s Culturescape, Hui ‘O Hawai’i Lu’au and more. This also enables speakers and food at student events, travel for clubs and organizations, publications such as the student newspaper, equipment for student media/TV, student employment opportunities, and so on.

Last month, ASUSF Senate passed a resolution to place a referendum on the ballot to increase the student activity fee by $20/semester, bringing the total fee to $102/semester. This referendum will be placed on the ballot next week during ASUSF Senate elections (April 11-14).

ASUSF Senate feels the need to increase the student activity fee due to a deficit in funding opportunities for clubs and organizations, student initiatives, and student events.  These include expansion of the fraternity and sorority community, increasing school spirit via Los Locos and Campus Traditions, and continuing to provide an outlet for more student involvement. In addition, campus operational costs continue to increase while the student activity fee has not changed for six years and is lower than our sister Jesuit schools (average of $120/semester). This year alone, student organizations requested $200,000 more than the student activity fee could support. This new funding is needed to support student proposals for events that would otherwise be denied and have no other funding source at USF.

If students want to have their voice heard on this matter, they need to vote in next weeks elections by going to eballot3.votenet.com or by visiting any of the polling stations hosted by the Electoral Governing Board (EGB) on campus. Questions about the referendum can be addressed to senate@usfca.edu.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

News Editor: Ericka Montes

Economy Spikes 2010-11 Tuition Rates: Administration balances setbacks to yield a low 2.9% increase

Undergraduates are soon to face a tuition increase for the 2010-11 academic year, which the university has deemed necessary.
Last December, the university presented their pricing strategy to the Board of Trustees for the upcoming fiscal year. The Board approved the 2 percent increase in residence hall rates, 2.6 percent increase in meal plan rates, and a tuition increase of 2.9 percent.
According to the Office of the Provost, USF’s tuition increase is among the lowest percentages of major universities. “We’ve been very careful in trying to look at operational efficiencies by reorganizing and trying to find ways to lower our operational costs,” said Salvador Aceves, vice provost for Planning, Budget and Review.

An increase in the number of students enrolled, amplified by the nation’s economic downturn, has prompted university officials to implement several structural adjustments that enhance faculty and staff productivity and continue the high-quality education for students.

“General concerns about access and affordability which fit into the larger context of an increase are what we are trying to balance,” said Aceves. “We as an institution and buyer of services have to factor in certain increases year after year.”

Aceves said there are three major factors that influenced a tuition increase for fall 2011.

The first includes the rising costs of health care benefits. Aceves said a task force was appointed to assemble a health care package that is attractive, but at a lower cost. The university seeks to become a smarter consumer in spite of rapidly increasing costs.

The second factor is the school’s financial aid offerings. The fall semester will experience a significant growth in qualifying university scholars, who are students receiving scholarships for their academic aptitude in high school. USF must set aside more scholarship money for the incoming class.

However, the university will face a financial drop in the endowment, and it will greatly impact the money geared toward student scholarships. The endowment is substantially lower than schools such as Santa Clara and Pepperdine.
Despite ongoing efforts to work with the city and other private organizations who may be interested in donating money, USF continues to award less aid from endowment earnings.

Aceves said the third factor has been the postponed maintenance in university facilities. The maintenance of sites that have undergone major upgrades, like the University Center, will be funded through the school’s tuition increase.

The Office of the Provost also had to deal with the rising costs of services that the university purchases. Services include the use of facilities on campus and several computer databases used by the library.

However, Aceves said one other leading reason for the tuition increase is the need to maintain competitive employee salaries. By doing so, the university may have an edge in attracting and maintaining their employee base.

Like other universities, USF has had to deal with financing competing interests, including collective bargaining agreements with several employee groups at the university.

One student praised the university’s insistence to make faculty salaries competitive, and said “the student essentially becomes a better product due to the competitive nature of the faculty salary.” Having family members graduate from USF in the past, they have seen tuition prices rise and found a tuition increase to be a bit excessive.

Nursing major Jessica Holtkamp said an increase in loans and scholarship funds will help students deal with the rise in cost, but doesn’t see the decision as a positive. “Raising the tuition will make it just that much harder for students to afford to go to this school.”

Since USF is 95 percent plus dependent on tuition, it places a heavy burden on students to cover the cost. As students submit their FAFSA for next year, officials must adjust their aid distribution based on need.

The decision to increase the tuition of undergraduate programs is evaluated at an institutional level. Aceves said when it comes to the graduate level, the university relies very strongly on the recommendations of each school, as many of these programs often operate in their own sub-market.

Aceves said, “At the end of the day, we want to make sure we are assigning those costs specifically to that segment of students who are the direct beneficiaries.”

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

News Editor: Ericka Montes

New Taxes Puts More Burden on California Workers

On Wednesday, April 1st, the new temporary California sales tax increase officially took effect across the state as part of California’s new tax –and-spend state budget.  The one percent increase is due to expire on either July 1, 2011, or July 1, 2012, depending on the outcome of a statewide vote on May 19, 2009 on Proposition 1A, the Budget Stabilization Act.  The increase raised the rate from a minimum of 7.25% to at least 8.25% statewide.

If the proposition is approved, many of the tax increases passed in the Feb. 2009 budget package would be extended by one to two years.  Also, state tax revenues would increase by about $16 billion from 2010-11 through 2012-13, according to the Proposition 1A proposal.

The tax increase that recently went into effect is the largest one-time tax increase in the state’s history.  The increase will take between $1-2 thousand more per year from California families who are already struggling with everything from keeping up with car payments to putting food on the table.

Instead of repenting from overspending and government waste, 75 Democrats and 6 Republicans in the state legislature, along with Governor Schwarzenegger, voted to empty out the already thin pockets of Californians.  Once again, state bureaucrats have dug a hole and California citizens are being forced to fill it.

The increase will raise the rate higher than 8.25% in some California counties, according to the Los Angeles Times.  City and county level tax increases are added on to the one percent increase.  For some Californians the sales tax has been pushed over nine percent, and in Pico Rivera, CA and South Gate, CA, people began paying a 10.25% sales tax on April 1st.  The argument is that these people in cities with higher taxes can afford to pay them.  According to citytowninfo.com, Pico Rivera, CA is in the lower half of both cities in the nation and in California in terms of people at middle class or better.  In South Gate, CA, the person above the poverty rate is below 25%, as well as the number of people who are considered middle class or better.

There is no better example a city being pinched by the tax increase than Oakland, CA, where people above the poverty line is in the lower 25% compared to both state and national cities, and the city’s sales tax is the third highest in the state, but possibly not for long.  According to SFGate.com, there is a proposal to raise Oakland’s sales tax to between 10-10.25 percent, equaling the state’s highest sales tax.

Our “No new taxes” Governor has now presided over a record breaking tax hike in order to avoid defaulting on the state budget, which would have been catastrophic for our great state.  Running out of time and faced with making either a catastrophic or damaging decision, the legislature chose the damaging one.

Make no mistake, the tax increase is severely damaging.  Thousands of Californians are facing foreclosure each week.  One in ten Californians is unemployed.  While the federal government is cutting taxes and dishing money out to states, California is offsetting the help by making it difficult for people to make daily purchases.

The best to deal with an economic crisis is not taxing the people you depend on to revive the economy.  The Foghorn does not support the increase in sales tax.  All of the tax hikes in the two-year plan fall on the shoulders of California workers.  When they passed the budget, Gov. Schwarzenegger and the California legislature said everyone had to give a little to solve the state’s financial problems, but apparently that doesn’t apply to big California businesses.  The state budget has a plethora of corporate tax breaks and credits that would save businesses hundreds of mullions of dollars but would cost the California Treasury at least $2.5 billion over a five-year period.

The plan runs counter to the Obama Administration’s plan to give tax cuts to low and middle income Americans.  California law-makers are asking voters to approve five budget-related measures during a special election in May, including one that would implement a state spending cap in exchange for extending tax increase for one or two years.  The Foghorn does not support any of the five proposed measures in May, nor do we support any proposal in tax increase until the tax burden is more evenly distributed among workers and businesses.