COGS prepping fees request

The council is seeking student services fees for the first time since leaving GAPSA.

COGS prepping fees request

Blair Emerson

The Council of Graduate Students is beginning to apply for its own student services fees after voting in November to split from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, effective this summer.

The council’s preliminary request asks the Student Services Fees Committee for about $124,000 in fees funding, most of it for travel grants. COGS recently sent its request to the University of Minnesota’s graduate student body for feedback.

GAPSA previously distributed COGS’ funding, but the council will now apply for its own student services fees because members say they want more control over the organization’s finances.

COGS previously told the Minnesota Daily that GAPSA didn’t give the council its correct funding appropriation last year.

Though COGS has received student services fees funding before, SSFC adviser Megan Sweet said the committee will treat COGS like any other group applying for fees.

“Every group approaches the process with a clean slate every year,” Sweet said. “Whether you’re new or returning, you will receive the same consideration by the committee.”

COGS President Andrew McNally said the council wants graduate students to have greater input on how their fees are spent.

COGS’ preliminary budget totals about $146,000, with around $126,000 of that coming from student services fees. Other grants would fund the rest.

McNally said COGS leadership wants to use fees funding in ways that impact graduate students while cutting down on internal costs.

“We want to make sure that we cut any unnecessary expenses so that graduate students are receiving as much benefits as possible from their fees dollars,” he said.

Danneka Miller, a graduate student studying speech-language pathology, said she supports COGS members seeking graduate student feedback on their fees request.

“They are keeping in mind that graduate students are on a tight budget and every dollar goes a long way,” she said. “I hope it gets approved because it would be a great step forward.”

In this spring’s student services fees cycle, COGS is applying as a special assessment group. If the fees committee approves all or part of COGS’ request, only graduate students would pay student services fees going to COGS.

COGS and all fees-requesting groups will begin presentations to the SSFC next month.

The committee’s initial recommendations are tentatively scheduled to go public in the last week of February.