Telling college kids they have to pay fees to fund student organizations is about the same as telling Americans they have to pay more taxes –– the idea usually isn’t received well.
At CSU, students have the opportunity to get a say in the student fee process. Compared to other universities like Iowa State, Washington State and Kansas State; CSU has a unique student-driven process that translates into real changes by the university’s Board of Governors.
Under the current process, the Associated Students of CSU create a committee (the Student Fee Review Board), which then meets with the respective heads of various fee-funded areas around campus. The SFRB then compiles a list of all the student fees to present to the ASCSU Senate.
Senate then approves, amends, or denies the list, also known as the “Long Bill.” After approval, the bill is then sent to President Tony Frank’s desk to be presented to the Board of Governors. The board then implements the fees for the next fiscal year.
According to ASCSU Vice President Joe Eden, there has never been a year in which the Board of Governors has denied the student-written bill. Students, in other words, have a lot of say in the student fee process here.
In contrast, Washington State University–Vancouver has a much more facilitated process, according to Student Government President Daniel Nguyen. They create a Service and Activities Committee to compose a list of student fees. However, that committee is made up of equal parts of students and faculty or administrators.
“It’s about 50 percent decided by the students and 50 percent decided by the university,” Nguyen said. “It’s pretty structured and we definitely see a lot of intervention from the university, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”
Nguyen said he was impressed with the amount of student involvement in CSU’s student fee process.
According to Jared Knight, Iowa State University student government president, this type of process involving students and administrators is still able to encompass the opinions of all the students. Their fee committee is much more condensed, with only three students and four faculty or administrators.
“We spend most of the spring semester getting feedback from students in order to represent them all,” Knight said. “Then our committee comes together to talk about the recommendations. The general consensus within the committee is always ‘less is better.’”
Meanwhile, students at Kansas State University are almost more involved than students at CSU in their student fee process. Their process includes a committee of about nine student government senators and three at-large members.
This committee meets with various fee-funded areas and assembles a list of the student fees, which is then signed by the president. Similar to CSU’s process, their proposal is almost never vetoed or amended by their president before being implemented.
Their fee-areas, however, are only reviewed every three years, instead of every year.
“Students have a lot of authority in the process. We review really large entities, such as Student Health, which employs seven full-time doctors,” said Privilege Fee Chairman Ryan Patterson. “We essentially have the power to determine their salaries. That’s huge.”
ASCSU Beat Reporter Carrie Mobley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org