How the Student Fee Review Board drives your dollar

Noah Pasley

With every month comes a new wave of dread for many students, as it signals their monthly installment for their apartment or the next school payment.

But while students sign into their RAMweb to make a payment, they themselves have power over where some of those dollars go.

Ad

Colorado State University is one of several colleges with an intact Student Fee Review Board, according to Christian Dykson, a sophomore studying political science and a board member since last fall.

Students are able to join the board to determine where the student fees are allocated from year to year.

Alexandra Farias, vice president of the Associated Students of CSU and chair of the SFRB, said that the board allocates roughly $63.8 million dollars in student fees to 19 fee areas around campus, such as the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, ASCSU and Campus Recreation.

Dykson said he joined the SFRB to advocate for where student fees are best spent.

“Every dollar that’s spent or taken for student fees is a dollar that isn’t going to rent, cost of transportation, food, books and other essentials that are needed for academic success,” Dykson said. “Every dollar, every penny counts, and I want to be a voice of reason on behalf of the students.”

Dykson said that the SFRB is a “portal for student impact and change.” He also said that joining the board is a good way to get informed about what’s going on in and around campus.

“For the fall semester, you tour all of the areas,” Dykson said. “They give you a full rundown of what the purpose of their offices are, what the purpose of that fee category is, how it’s impacting students, why we should keep it, what the proposal is.”

Due to COVID-19, Farias said that the SFRB is currently relying on Zoom, with plans to meet in person in the spring with social distancing in place. She also added that the spring semester consists entirely of looking at fee areas’ budgets and that the board then decides how much each fee area receives.

“Some areas will come to us with no increase, meaning that they are operating comfortably and don’t need any more money,” Farias said. “And other areas will come to us with increases consisting of a mandatory increase (e.g., salary and benefits) or a new project (e.g., funding a new position). It is then in the board’s hands to decide what goes and what doesn’t.”

Every dollar that’s spent or taken for student fees is a dollar that isn’t going to rent, cost of transportation, food, books and other essentials that are needed for academic success.”-Christian Dykson, SFRB board member

Dykson said that the “coolest part” of the SFRB was getting to learn about the depth of CSU programs and involvement, as well as the history of how some of the programs started.

Ad

“It’s a great power that we have,” Dykson said. “Many universities have lost that power. Other universities have bundled the student fees with tuition where it’s only the administration that looks over it, and that’s problematic for many reasons.”

Jasper Sloss, a junior studying finance, joined the board last spring after positions opened up. He said that the SFRB has been a great experience and that it helped him get “in tune” with what goes on around campus.

“I hoped … to feel like I’m actually giving back to the community that I’m a part of,” Sloss said. “I felt like this was one of the best places for your time to give back and really support the students around you.”

Sloss also said that the SFRB isn’t “just a face” for administration to act like students are involved in the process but is an actual position where students face tough, challenging situations.

“We have to weigh … whether this supports students the way student fees (are) supposed to,” Sloss said. “There is more going on than just meets the eye, and also there’s a lot going on on campus that students are able to get involved in and make difference.”

“I would encourage anyone to apply for this board,” Farias said. “It allows you to really learn about your student fees firsthand and make a difference in keeping fees low and (in) students’ best interest.”

Students can apply for the SFRB at through the link on ASCSU’s Instagram bio, @ASCSU.

Noah Pasley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PasleyNoah.