Dividing the dollars
How council allocates student fee money
J. Fred Fox | reporter
As Pittsburg State breaks ground on the Fine and Performing Arts Building, which is already being partially funded by student fee dollars, that may prompt students to wonder what their fee dollars directly fund in the first place.
Campus privilege fees, or student fees, are increasing $30 every academic year, for five years, having already begun this 2012-2013 school year. The Fine and Performing Arts Building, the Overman Student Center expansion and the Weede expansion projects are all funded out of these $30 increases.
Each semester of this year, full-time students paid $554 as part of their tuition payment to PSU, according to Steve Erwin, associate vice president of student life.
For this semester, the $30 accounts for 5 percent of the total student fee. The largest portion, 26 percent, is given to the athletic department.
“Almost all of the athletic part of student fees goes to fund athlete scholarships,” Erwin said. That’s over $130 per student.
Unlike athletics, Student Health operates solely from the $93 every full-time student pays as a part of their fees. That’s 17 percent of a student’s fee.
The Health Center provides services such as in-patient care, X-rays, mental health services, counseling, orthopedics, internal medicine, cardiovascular stress testing, physicals and a pharmacy. Some of these services aren’t available at other Kansas public university health centers.
“We try very hard to be accessible, affordable and convenient,” said Rita Girth, director of the student health center. “About 75-80 students use our clinic per day, or about 16,000 annually. About 50 percent of the student body will utilize our services.”
About 14 percent goes to student activities. That pays for the majority of campus services and extracurriculars.
The student activities portion includes allocations for organizations like the Pride of the Plains marching band, cheerleading, intramurals and Student Government Association. Student Publications, which governs The Collegio, is also partly funded this way.
Sixteen percent goes to the Overman Student Center. Eight percent goes to the Student Recreation Center. Five percent goes to a parking maintenance fund.
The remaining 9 percent is split between a previous Horace Mann renovation, a student health debt service and the Educational Opportunity Fund.
The process of deciding what student fees will be next semester starts started early this semester. Some departments have a separate body council that convenes and decides how much money to recommend be appropriated to its operations.
The Athletic Department, for example, spends most of the student fee aspect of its budget on scholarships for athletes. If there is a change in scholarship needs for athletes, they may recommend an increase.
These final recommendations from each council are presented to SGA for approval.
From there, it is sent to Steve Scott, university president. He reviews and has the authority to modify the recommendations, before sending them to the Kansas Board of Regents for final approval.