Student Health Services were discussed in a student fee hearing last Thursday, Feb. 31.
In deciding how much of every student’s money should go to funding health services, student government representatives gathered in SC105a to listen to Student Health Services Senior Director Bill Erb present. The presentation covered updates, the current budget breakdown and future goals of student health services.
At the beginning of the presentation Erb announced Student Health Services would not be submitting further monetary requests for the 2013-2014 school year.
“What we are doing is working,” Erb said. “We have enough money to do the services we want and we’ve got the services that the students seem to need.”
According to the 2012-2013 Tuition and Fee Schedule for undergraduate residents, student fees are broken down into nine funded categories. As one of these categories Student Health Services treats a monthly average of 539 patients, with a monthly intake of $45,000.
“Most of the student fees go to employees and paying their benefits,” said Erb. “[UVU nurses] take a $35,000 pay cut because they can’t imagine themselves working with anybody but our students. Because many of our students are finding themselves uninsured, we are trying to keep our prices low.”
Even with tight funding, health services has been able to pay for new embroidered uniforms, advertise and increase regular 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. hours to night program hours 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., three nights a week.
“In the first week [of the night program] all the appointments were filled,” Erb said.
Consequently, faculty members are stretched to their limits. In addition to longer hours, the unfilled psych nurse position, which has been open for over a year, has meant nurses sometimes deal with issues like hard drugs or schizophrenia for which they haven’t been trained.
Expenses for student fees only pays for the medical services. Therapy, however, is funded by the state.
Due to the university receiving a disproportionately low amount of state funding compared to the state’s other higher education institutions, compensation for a large portion of UVU faculty and staff falls at least 10 percent below the current Utah System of Higher Education standards of employee compensation of 90 percent of median market value.
A school-wide call for more space has Student Heath Services hoping to add another room and regular nurse if no one in the valley is interested in the psych nurse position.
Whereas on the therapy side of health services, “we are thousands of dollars away [from 24 hour turn around assistance to students],” Erb said.
Over the last five years, UVU has grown by 7,700 students, a 32 percent increase. Despite an $847 increase of tuition and fees for full-time resident students in the last four years, new projections estimate 43,310 students in Fall 2020.
In order to meet this demand, 1.4 million square- feet of space is needed meaning more classrooms and faculty office space.
“Above all, an enrollment drop is the last thing we want. When less students come to UVU our [Student Health] Services
disappear,” Erb said.