Group prepares to allocate student service fees

The committee will start hearing requests for the funds next week.

Elizabeth Cook

The money students pay to the University isn’t only for tuition; it’s also to help keep student organizations and administrative programs running on campus.

For the 2006-07 academic year, students paid $305 in student services fees – money used to fund certain student groups and administrative units on campus.

The Student Services Fees Committee, which is meeting in the next few weeks, will likely change that amount for the next academic year.

The Minnesota Student Association and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly have already approved the committee, which consists of 15 students and four faculty and staff members.

Separate committees handle fee request for administration departments and students groups. To receive fees, student groups needed to fill out a fee request form that was due Wednesday.

The University decides how much each student pays, which is the amount awarded to each group divided by the number of fee-paying students.

Starting next week, the administrative committee will hear nine presentations from administrative program officials, including Boynton Health Service and the Department of Recreational Sports, to describe why they need the requested funds.

Administrative programs apply for fees every other year. On their off year, they must update the committee.

This year’s administrative fees committee chair is Eric Butz, an accounting senior who served on the student group’s committee last spring.

Butz said he wanted to participate in the process again because he enjoyed his experience the previous year and would like to see what it’s like working with larger funds.

“It’s a bigger budget, it’s a different kind of process,” he said. “They asked which you would prefer and I said I’d be happy to do either.”

There is no cap on how much a department or group can request, said Erich Martin, the late night program director for the student unions and the fees committee adviser.

As part of their training, committee members look at the University operating budget to better understand what it takes financially to run the college.

Also, the student group committee will break into two subcommittees and hear about 15 formal group presentations next week.

Student groups must apply for funding every year.

Scott Johnson, a computer science graduate student, is the chair of the student organizations fees committee.

This will be his first year participating at the University, but he held a similar position at the University of North Dakota.

After presentations, the committees recommend how much money the groups will receive.

“The decision they are making will ultimately decide how much the students will pay in their student fee,” Martin said.

After all recommendations are made they are sent to the vice provost for academic affairs, Jerry Rinehart.

If he approves the recommendations they are sent to Robert Jones, the senior vice president for system academic administration.

According to the 2007 Student Services Fees Handbook for Student Organizations, the Board of Regents, which must approve the final decisions, will take action in June.