Student fee hearings set to begin Jan. 18; large fee requests expected
Reading Time: 3 minutes A schedule has been finalized by UVUSA as the 2024 student fee hearings are set to begin on Jan. 18. Departments are expected to request fee increases due to a 2023 tuition freeze.
UVUSA has finalized a schedule for the upcoming 2024 student fee hearings, which are set to begin on Jan. 18.
The student fee hearings are public meetings held by the UVUSA Student Council to hear proposals from various on-campus departments on whether to increase, lower, or maintain student fees. These fees are the main sources of funding for various student programs including Athletics, UTA passes, Student Health Services, and others.
These hearings have been anticipated: Due to Govenor Cox’s tuition freeze for the 2023-2024 academic year, many programs have not been able to compensate for rising costs or the Social Security Administration’s cost-of-living increases.
“I will be asking for a student fee increase to help cover the [Cost of living adjustment] increase that we had last year and the one that is anticipated for this upcoming year,” Joel Herd, Director of Student Center Operations, said in a statement to The Review. “This will be a minimal request to help cover these increased COLA costs.”
COLA increases come each year from the SSA as the cost of living changes in the country. As of right now, the SSA says that there will be a 3.2% increase in COLA. UVU and other public entities are required to raise wages along with this increase. Marissa King, Student Leadership Director, stated in a previous student council meeting that programs had to go into reserve funding in order to pay their employees.
“We all had to tap into our reserves,” King said on the Nov. 9 council meeting. She attributed this to maintaining programs as they were.
As it stands, the schedule will be as follows, occurring in the Student Council Chamber (SL 114). There are three scheduled fee hearings. The first will be on Jan. 18 from 1-2:30 p.m., with a presentation from Jim Godfrey for the School of the Arts (current fee $1.74), followed by a presentation from Herd for the Student Center and Student Life and Wellness Center operation and management (current fee is $57.92).
“These fees help pay for the staff that provide services for the students,” Herd said in a statement to The Review. “Also, [they] make sure these two buildings are ready for students to use each day.”
The second fee hearing will take place on Jan. 25 from 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. This day will have a presentation from Sasha Smirnova, Senior Director for Campus Recreation (current fee is $29.27). Following Smirnova will be Bill Erb for Student Health Services (current fee is $9.84).
The final day of student fee hearings will be on Feb. 1 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. This session will be heard from King, who will be representing Student Programs (current fee is $53.01). Following King will be Kedric Black, who will talk about the current fees for UTA passes and building bonds (current building bond fee is $91.50, and UTA fee is $6.54). The final presentation will be from Jared Sumsion for UVU Athletics (current fee is $78.21).
“The student fee hearings are one of the most important things UVUSA does every year,” Sumsion said in a statement to The Review. “As a former student body president, I am proud of the way it is handled each and every year, and I appreciate the time and effort each member of [the] council puts into the process.”
As mentioned, programs have run deficits during the tuition and fee freeze period. This has made this proposal much anticipated in how high these fee proposals are to make up lost funds. In last year’s fee hearings, Athletics had stated they ran a 2.1 million dollar deficit due to a 42% increase in travel. However, this deficit was made up for through alternative methods of funding. Documents shared with The Review by UVU showed a $7,000 deficit ran by UVUSA in the last academic year.
From what The Review has been able to gather, both O&M and Student Programs have stated they will ask for increases in their fees; however, the increase amount is unclear. Given past comments on fees, it seems other programs may follow in requesting an increase. The Review reached out to all representatives mentioned within the fee schedule, and we are awaiting replies.
“The proposal is a work in progress and requires buy in from multiple campus entities before I present,” Sumsion continued in his statement. “I still have upcoming meetings with various entities before we finalize our presentation.”
For more information about student fees and how they are used, visit the UVUSA website. As this story develops, The Review will continue to report on new details.
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