GAPSA’s appeal approved in final fees review

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart approved one of eight appeals.

Cody Nelson

 

In one of the final steps of the student services fees process this week, only one of eight groups’ appeals was approved.

University of Minnesota Vice Provost and Dean of Students Jerry Rinehart responded to all of the appeals Friday but approved only that for the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly — denying many protesting student groups’ requests for stipends to pay workers.

The committee’s final recommendations, including Rinehart’s recommendations, will go to the Board of Regents this week. The board is expected to release their final decisions in June.

There has been ongoing concern regarding how the current Student Services Fees Committee has funded groups’ requests for stipends to pay students, some of whom work more than 20 hours for their group each week.

“While not establishing a ‘blanket’ ban on student Groups including La Raza Student Cultural Center, Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow and the American Indian Student Cultural Center protested at a public hearing last month and filed appeals to their underfunded requests.

But in his responses, Rinehart stood behind the committee’s funding rationales. 

“While not establishing a ‘blanket’ ban on student stipends or staff wages, the committee reviewed each organization’s request individually,” Rinehart said in an appeal response. “The committees were very concerned with the growth of student fee request that are being directed for personnel rather than programming.”

All student groups requested about $660,000 for salaries, wages and stipends, but the committee didn’t fund about 40 percent of those requests.

GAPSA asked the committee for a reduction of more than $24,000 in its fees recommendation.

The assembly asked for a reduction because it had excess money in its reserves, leading it to revert to its 2012-13 request and not increase its per-student fee.

“I am hopeful that GAPSA’s financial planning will in the future allow it to avoid accumulation of large carry forwards,” Rinehart said in his appeal response.

GAPSA will use its extra funds to offer an additional grants cycle. Currently, it offers grants once per semester. This summer, for the first time, graduate and professional students will have another chance to get financial support for scholarly, travel or social expenses.

As it stands in final recommendations, University undergraduates will pay $430.33 per semester in student services fees next year.