Student Fee Review Board delays vote on counseling fee, approves four fee proposals

Charlotte Lang

The Student Fee Review Board delayed a vote to increase counseling fees for Colorado State University’s Health Network. Additionally, the Board voted to approve student fee proposals for RamRide, Off-Campus Life, the University Center for the Arts and the Health Network’s medical costs early Monday evening.

The CSU Health Network presented two separate fee requests for medical and counseling costs. The Health Network is asking for a $3.90 increase for counseling costs, mandatory costs being $2.46 of that total.

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The vote for the Health Network’s counseling fee is planned to take place after the Board receives more information about the average counselor pay, both in general and in the network.

RamRide’s proposed increase of 78 cents passed. This total included 24 cents to address mandatory costs. An additional 54 cents would fund an existing program coordinator position, split with Off-Campus Life.

RamRide and Off-Campus Life are seeking to fund the established, but temporarily vacant, program coordinator role to better meet the demands of supporting the program and the growing CSU population.

Off-Campus Life’s proposed increase of 97 cents also passed. This fee included a 43 cent mandatory fixed cost as well as 54 cents to match RamRide’s funding of the coordinator position. 

The UCA’s proposal for a 29-cent-per-semester and 19-cent-per-summer fee passed, as did the Health Network’s medical proposal for no change. The UCA asked for no increases outside of the mandatory costs.

Ann Hudgens, executive director for the CSU Health Network, and Lori Lynn, associate executive director, presented two separate fee requests, as the Health Network refers to both medical and counseling costs. 

Hudgens said, for medical costs, the network isn’t asking for any increases in either mandatory or additional fees.

“We’re in year four this year of not asking for any additional student fees, as we changed our financial model from being entirely student fee-reliant to engaging in direct billing of student health insurance and parent health insurance,” Hudgens said.

The increase for counseling costs would go to salaries and benefits so the Health Network can remain competitive in stabilizing and maintaining its current counselors.

Hudgens said counseling services carry most of the pressure as more students look for such services at the Health Center.

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“To just give you an idea of the volume, in the first four days of the semester, we answered 1,200 calls at our counseling service front desk,” Hudgens said. “So students are asking for counseling services. Our challenge is to respond to the demand for those services.”

The fee increase proposal, Hudgens said, is guaranteed to stabilize the current level of staff.

Our goal is to keep the cost to students as low as possible.”

Dan Goble, director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Dan Goble, director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, and Sheryl Highsmith, budget director, asked only to increase mandatory costs, which include increases in salary and fringe benefits for PAC-funded UCA production and marketing staff.

The UCA’s fund balance currently amounts to 4.3 percent, which members of the board said is lower than what they’re used to seeing.

Highsmith said this was because the UCA didn’t feel increasing the fund balance was a necessity.

“If there was a major shift in enrollment, what we’d likely do is cancel a production or some other thing. We could make changes pretty quickly to our academic year production rather than just adding or increasing a fee just to build that up,” Highsmith said. “We haven’t felt that that’s ever been a real necessity on our end to have that more than four or five percent.”

Highsmith said they’re trying to increase their fund balance slightly but aren’t purposely trying to get it up to 10 percent—the standard for the fee-funded areas.

“That would take a massive change in enrollment to cause us to have to have emergency procedures,” Highsmith said. “We’re working to increase it a little, but it hasn’t been a priority to us.”

Goble said they don’t want to make a fee increase just to move the balance up.

“Our goal is to keep the cost to students as low as possible,” Goble said.

Next week’s planned presentations will be from Interpersonal Violence and the Student Resolution Center.

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @chartrickwrites.