Organizations prepare fee requests

by Andrew Tellijohn

About 35 campus organizations and services will begin on Friday their annual campaign to secure a slice of University students’ tuition dollars.
Nonacademic organizations both big and small must submit requests to the Student Services Fees Committee by Friday in order to be eligible for a portion of the approximate $12 to 14 million that will be generated during the 1997-98 school year. The requests are then presented to three subcommittees.
“The groups get to make their presentations for the subcommittees,” said Vicki Casey, fees committee adviser. “They generally plan on an hour so there’s time for questions.”
Students taking six or more credits this year pay $156.71 per quarter to fund fee-receiving groups. Each group receives a percentage of the total fees.
To be eligible for funding, each organization must have students participating in spending decisions, show that its spending is in line with its budget request and make its budgets available for inspection.
The committee expects to review about 35 applications, but Casey said there are no guarantees that the groups will receive any funding.
“The committee tries not to raise the fees too much,” she said. “It’s pretty rare that every new organization that wants to would get funding.”
All organizations will submit funding requests to address how their budgets would change if it received either 90 or 100 percent of the fee amount they currently receive. If they are requesting an increase in funding, they must also account for any extra money they would receive, Casey said.
Once the subcommittees finish their deliberations, the recommendations are brought back to the full committee, which will give approval to the preliminary budget. The fees committee is made up of University students, staff, and faculty members.
Groups will then have a final opportunity Feb. 22 to voice opinions on preliminary budget results.
“Some of the recommendations may be adjusted,” Casey said. “There’s not a lot, but usually one or two get the committee’s attention.”
Boynton Health Service is one of several organizations that receives funds each year. Fees make up about 48 percent of Boynton’s 1996-97 budget, said director Gailon Roen. For Boynton, the fee request application process takes about two months, usually resulting in a 75-page proposal, he said.
Students generally don’t have a direct voice in which groups receive funds. An exception is the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, an organization that lobbies and researches topics of student interest.
During registration each quarter, students have the option to not fund MPIRG by checking “no” in the proper spot on the registration form. However, executive director Heather Cusick said the funding is vital for the organization to continue fighting about issues important to students.
“It’s a vehicle toward citizen training you just can’t find in many other places,” Cusick said.