Student Recreation and Health Services ask for student fee increases during second hearing
Reading Time: 2 minutes Department requests for student fees to increase continued into the second day of fee hearings, where both Student Health Services and Student Recreation asked for an increase in their current student fees to improve services and cover COLA.
Meeting on Jan. 25, the Student council heard from both departments to hear their requests and reasons behind their proposals. SR has requested an increase of $2.63, and SHS gave a variety of options from as low as $1.13 to as high as $5.24 depending on the council’s inclination to raise the student fee.
The first to present was Sasha Smirnova, senior director of Recreation and Wellness, who pointed to the tuition freeze last year, increased usage of their programs this year, and the Cost-of-Living Adjustment from last year and this year as the main reasons for the increased student fee.
“[The] fee shall be used to maintain Recreation and Wellness staffing including COLA increases from 2023-24 and 2024-25,” the proposal read. “Programing and operations including: SLWC, Bowling Alley and Gaming Center, OAC, The Project Climbing Wall, Wellness Programs, Intramurals and Competitive Sports and Rodeo.”
Smirnova had previously stated to The Review that her department was seeking to increase their fee. She pointed to many of the things mentioned previously adding, “This approach aims to strike a balance between meeting essential financial obligations and minimizing the impact on students.”
Next to present was Bill Erb, director of Student Health Services, who came with a proposal that left a lot in the hands of the Student Council. Erb’s proposal was an increase, but he gave levels of things he wanted to expand regarding student healthcare on campus. At minimum he is seeking an increase of $1.13 to cover COLA increases from last year and this coming year. However, he is seeking to add on another staffed nurse practitioner and medical assistant to add more in-person appointments for medical services.
For the NA, an additional increase of $2.66 is requested, and for the MA an additional increase of $1.45 is requested. This would bring the total increase to $5.24. This ask doesn’t include the additional options for mental health services that Erb wished to expand on. He gave three additional options from hiring another Therapist, Crisis Therapist, and increasing the funding to Timely Care. These options ranged from $2.25-2.51 each.
“We of course never want to create harm [for] students,” Erb told the council. “[We] want to help them in any way we can.”
Erb made it clear to the council that he didn’t come to the council lightly with this increase. That his department always sought to maximize their costs so as not to pass that onto students. “I haven’t asked for an increase in five years. We [always] wanted to maximize our efforts.”
With the current rate of increase requests from departments, the projected increase in student fees would be $14.16. This would be the largest increase in student fees in the last seven years, and would bring total student fees to $342.16, the third highest in the last seven years. With one fee hearing still to come this figure is likely to go up.
The next fee hearing is set to begin on Feb. 1, and will hear from Student Programs, UTA passes and building bonds, and finally UVU Athletics. Fee hearings are open to students, and start at 1 p.m.. For more information on student fees, visit the UVUSA website.
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