A recent survey from Boynton Health Service reveals the number of students diagnosed with mental health conditions has climbed sharply since 2013. Perhaps this is why the Minnesota Student Association and the Council of Graduate Students are making mental health a critical part of their agendas this year.
In the past, we have repeatedly promoted the expansion of mental health resources. However, we have some concerns with MSA’s latest proposal.
Boynton currently receives about 25 percent of its funding from student service fees, which can only increase by 2 or 3 percent per year. But according to MSA President Joelle Stangler, “The student service channel isn’t working.”
Instead, MSA wants tuition money to help fund Boynton. Carl Anderson, Boynton’s director and chief health officer, said this plan could increase tuition.
While we recognize the importance of promoting mental health, we find it hard to reconcile MSA’s proposal with its historic support for undergraduate tuition freezes.
Additionally, MSA does not want to eliminate student service fees as a source of Boynton’s funding. Considering financial stress is often a primary cause of students’ anxiety, it seems incongruous to propose a plan which would expand mental health resources by burdening students with expenses in addition to those they already pay.
Rather than pursue a plan which could further increase students’ already-tremendous financial burdens, we encourage MSA to use its new official legislative status to work alongside administrative officials and develop alternative methods to increase funding for mental health services.