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Inside ASCSU: Vice President Wise talks student fees

For Cole Wise, vice president of the Associated Students of Colorado State University, spring semester brings much more than classes, homework and exams, as he prepares to chair the Student Fee Advisory Board, which allocates an estimated $61 million is student fees.

Cole Wise speaks to CTV about being ratified into the ASCSU Vice President position on November 29, 2017. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

According to Wise, “Student Fees are crucial to the success of any college student’s experience here at CSU.”

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While these fees are important, many students do not know where their money goes. So, what is SFRB, where do your student fees go and why should you care?

Each year, students at CSU pay a student fee. For the 2017-2018 school year, each full-time on-campus student was charged $1,168.14 in student fees. These fees fund a variety of student services across campus that are utilized on a daily basis, such as the Campus Recreation Center.

The rate students are charged in fees changes every year. In order to determine where these fees are allocated, there must be an extensive review process of budgets by a board made up of CSU students – this board is known as SFRB.

Compiled of roughly 18 student board members, SFRB is in charge of reviewing the 19 fee funded areas at CSU that range from Athletics to Resources for Disabled Students.

SFRB meets weekly to discuss and review the budgets and proposed fee increases (if any) of each area. During the fall, the Board tours each fee funded area and familiarizes themselves with their potential needs. Changes in funding for these areas includes both mandatory and proposed increases. Mandatory increases include minimum wage, while proposed increases are additional requests for funding.

“If they are asking for an increase above mandatory costs, then SFRB evaluates if that is an appropriate initiative or project that would benefit the students,” explained Wise.

In the spring, each of the 19 areas present their budget and any fee increases they may request. The Board then asks questions, deliberates and votes on the funding for the fee areas.

“We evaluate their increase and advocate if their suggested increase would benefit the students at Colorado State University,” Wise said. “At the end of the spring… we meet to vote on the final fee funded package.”

Following the Board’s approval, the student fee package is then sent to the ASCSU Senate. If passed by the senate, the package is sent to the CSU Board of Governors for final approval.

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During the spring semester, Wise hopes to increase student awareness around where their money is being spent.

“As the chair of SFRB, my goal is to be very transparent,” Wise said. “It is to ultimately educate the student population on where their student fees go, why they pay student fees and what they benefit from paying that fee.”

In order to accomplish this goal of transparency, Wise plans to expand upon the ASCSU student web page.

Currently, students can visit the ASCSU website to access a breakdown of the 2017-2018 student fee allocations. Wise wants to take this a step farther, making a breakdown of each fee area more accessible. This includes posting each of the fee areas approved budgets and descriptions of what each fee area does for students.

Throughout the semester, fee updates will be posted on the ASCSU website in addition to updates in the Collegian.

“It’s going to be really exciting to see what these fee areas have in mind,” concluded Wise.

ASCSU Deputy Chief of Staff and ASCSU Blogger Baylee Lakey can be reached online at blogs@collegian.com or online at @bayleelakey.

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