Amid fees requests, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly asks for a cut

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly reverted to its 2012-13 fees request.

Global studies freshman Lee Anne Mills speaks on behalf of La Raza Student Cultural Center to Vice Provost of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jerry Rinehart during a public hearing Thursday, April 25, 2013, at Coffman Union.

Emily Dunker

Global studies freshman Lee Anne Mills speaks on behalf of La Raza Student Cultural Center to Vice Provost of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jerry Rinehart during a public hearing Thursday, April 25, 2013, at Coffman Union.

Cody Nelson

 

In an unprecedented move, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly is asking for a reduction of more than $24,000 in student services fees.

The group, which is one of the largest recipients of student services fees, appealed its final recommendation of $416,215 and instead asked for $392,126 — the same amount it received in
2012-13.

Student Services Fees Committee adviser Megan Sweet said she’s never seen a group file an appeal for less fees funding.

“This is unprecedented … from what I can remember,” she said.

Fees-receiving groups occasionally ask for less funding from year-to-year because of carryover funds, Sweet said, but it’s less common for groups to ask for a reduction during the same fees cycle.

Kevin Lang, GAPSA’s vice president of finance, offered the assembly’s appeal to fees committee members and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart at a final public hearing Thursday.

He said the decision to ask for fewer fees was made when considering the final recommendations and GAPSA’s projected budget.

“We actually saved more money than predicted,” he said.

The assembly also considered the GAPSA fee assessed to graduate and professional students, which was about $12 each semester and decided it would make the most sense to not increase that amount, Lang said.

“GAPSA indicated a significant carryover from the 2011-12 school year,” the GAPSA executive board said in its appeal to the fees committee, “accrued mostly through operational cost savings.”

Lang said these cost savings came from various sources, like partnerships with other groups including Boynton Health Service — which cosponsored the Cirque De-Stress event with GAPSA and others in early April.

“Realizing cost savings and being financially accountable is something that’s important to the fees process in general,” Sweet said.

When Lang took control of GAPSA’s finances, he said he wanted to trim the assembly’s budget.

“I made it my No. 1 goal to try to reduce costs … that could be reduced if we did a little extra work,” Lang said.

With the extra money, GAPSA will add a summer grants cycle, Lang said, which graduate students have requested before.

GAPSA offers grants to graduate and professional students for expenses like travel, academic initiatives and social events and has not previously offered grants during the summer.

“A lot of people travel during the summer because they don’t have class,” he said.

It isn’t known how many students will apply for summer grants, but Lang said GAPSA has “tried to fund as many grants as possible” this spring.

Although it hasn’t happened before, Sweet said it’s still possible for GAPSA’s request to be amended, even for less fees funding.

“Everything is considered a recommendation until it is approved by the [Board of Regents],” Sweet said.

The committee’s final recommendations will be approved by Rinehart and released May 6. They will go to the regents for review soon after.