Boynton Health requests additional student services fees for next fiscal year

Boynton Heath is requesting $418,663 in additional student service fees.

Boynton Health as seen on Friday, Feb. 23. Visits to the mental health clinic are up 18 percent compared to fall semester.

Carter Blochwitz

Boynton Health as seen on Friday, Feb. 23. Visits to the mental health clinic are up 18 percent compared to fall semester.

Gwiwon Jason Nam

Boynton Health requested additional student services fees this year, maintaining zero out-of-pocket undergraduate student costs and continuing a pattern of increased funding requests over previous years.

Boynton requested a 4.15 percent increase in SSF funding in its 2019-2020 allocation, which is expected to cost about five dollars more per student than the current fiscal year. Students currently pay $127.53 for Boynton operational fees in their SSF.

Although the proposal hasn’t yet been approved by the SSF committee, Boynton administrators believe the committee will decide by the end of the week. 

Most of the clinic’s funding is provided by third-party insurance companies due to the University’s mandatory insurance guideline.

“We receive so much revenue from third-party insurance, and it keeps the cost of service really low for students here,” said Carl Anderson, director of Boynton Health. “Fees are lower compared to a lot of other campuses, and the University doesn’t have to subsidize financially any other way because we receive so much from external sources.”  

For the current 2018-2019 fiscal year, Boynton is projected to receive about $10 million, including the operational fee and facility fee. In 2019-2020 fiscal year, Boynton proposed an additional operational fee of $254,000 for mental health expansion and about $165,000 for the Gopher Chauffeur

The percentage of Boynton’s funding that comes from SSFs is among the lowest in the Big Ten, according to data provided by Boynton. 

“Every university is struggling with the same issues. They are very likely seeing an increase in request for services,” said Holly Ziemer, Boynton’s marketing and communication director.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has the highest rate from SSFs for health services funding, which they call the student segregated fee. 

“We get a majority of our funding from the student segregated fee,” said Marlena Holden, interim director of marketing and prevention services at University of Wisconsin-Madison University health services. She added that 82.6 percent of their funding comes from student segregated fees. 

She said the student segregated fee was $217.44 per student for health services in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pay about $90 more than the University for health service fees per semester. Though, unlike the University, UW-Madison does not require health insurance.

But Anderson and Ziemer say it’s difficult to compare campus clinics due to a variety of factors like size and what programs are subsidized.

“What the Big Ten health centers are doing is trying to talk and learn from each other,” Ziemer said. “I think that’s what’s most important to understand, they will have different ways of doing it.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the student services fees request. The SSF request was submitted by Boynton Health and administrators have made no indication of their expectations for the amount that will be approved.