Student fees suggestions set

JP Leider

Students should expect to foot a $40 increase in Student Services Fees next year.

Based on recommendations released today by the Student Services Fees Committee, students taking six or more credits would be required to pay a mandatory fee of more than $310 each semester next year.

Of that amount, $8.69 per semester would go to support fees-requesting student organizations, like Al-Madinah Cultural Center, Entrepreneurship Club and Students for a Conservative Voice.

Students paid about a dollar more per semester this year than they will pay next year toward student organizations.

Henry Hewes, chairman of the Student Organizations committee, said most of the cuts student groups experienced this year came from salaries and cultural grants.

“The intention is cultural grants must be given out in a viewpoint-neutral manner,” Hewes said.

Many fees-requesting groups were giving grants to only affiliated groups and not to the larger University community, he said.

The Asian American Student Union and the Minnesota Student Association received the largest cuts to culture grants.

Groups that received cultural grant money that will no longer exist may apply for event grants through the Student Activities Office. In the future, groups could request Student Services Fees or join the organization from which they had been requesting event money.

Student Services Fees Committee member Eric Ling said the committee did not make a concerted effort to eliminate funding from groups.

“Every application that is looked at is considered with respect to the (fees committee) guidelines,” he said. “It’s not that we want to cut fees but to follow guidelines.”

Sometimes applicants asked for funding that did not fall into areas the fees committee could fund, Ling said.

Organizations considered under the Administrative Units Fees Committee fared better than student organizations, with units receiving 95 percent of the total requested amount.

Abu Jalal, an Administrative Units Fees Committee member, said most of the increases will go to salaries and utilities.

Even though the fees are large, the services provided by the administrative units are necessary to students at the University, Jalal said.

“We have to fund a reasonable request,” he said. “If we don’t do that, their services are not going to have the quality students require.”

Refusable-refundable

For several decades, students have had the option of supporting select groups while registering for classes by means of refusable-refundable fees.

If members of the Student Organizations committee get their way, the mechanism’s days may be numbered.

Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow and Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, two groups funded through refusable-refundable fees, both received significant cuts in fees money.

The committee debated whether giving the groups less money might induce more students to pay the Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow and MPIRG fees.

Under the final recommendations, Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow would be eligible for $2.25 per fees-paying student, and MPIRG would receive $2.40 per paying student.

MPIRG President Regal Johnson said he doesn’t see why the committee would cut an optional fee.

“It seems like (MPIRG’S) cuts were based on the difficulty of the mechanism,” he said.

Fees-requesting groups may file a written appeal to Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for Student Affairs, until Wednesday.