Associated Students proposes fee increase

Associated Students is exploring the possibility of raising its current fee of $99 per semester to $111 over the next four years.

Those behind the proposal believe the $12 increase is needed to account for the growing student population and the need for more funding for student services that the current budget is unable to provide.

A draft proposal was discussed Friday by the Associated Students but no formal decision has been made yet. The Associated Students is scheduled to discuss the fee increase further on Friday. If the proposal is approved, students will be able to vote on this issue in the upcoming spring semester.

The Associated Students Senate is looking at increasing the fee by $12 over four years. The first $3 increase would provide funding for the Tutorial Center, which currently receives $4.64 per student.

This draft proposal accounts for the demand for an increase in funding for the campus Tutorial Center. The center focuses on “at risk” students and aids in student support of academics.  Currently, the Tutorial Center receives $4.64 per student, and within the month of October about 1,800 students used the Tutorial Center.

“I think it’s important to note AS hasn't proposed anything yet, nothing is officially proposed until the Senate votes,” said Chief Financial Officer Adam Rosenkranz. “Contact their Senator so they can hear the students concerns before the Senate approves anything.”

This proposal will be revisited during next Friday’s meeting in the Student Center at 1 p.m.  Associated Students fees can range anywhere from $30 to $180 up and down the state of California dependent on functions of the student body and school budget. This marks the second proposal for a fee increase in the past year.

Last year,  Sonoma State University explored the adoption of a success fee of $250 per semester, which would have been added to tuition and gone toward the addition of more faculty and increased class availability.

By comparison, this fee increase would primarily be using these fee’s for the campus Tutorial Center, as well as distributing it to grants for clubs, the Join Us Making Progress program and all of the others Associated Students has been able to support. 

This is different from the success fee, where the funding would be allocated to “support student success,” leaving students unsure where their money was really going.

“Even though the word ‘fee’ scares many people, these on-campus resources can go a long way,” said Diversity Senator Cynthia Figueroa.

It’s in the best interest and intention of Associated Students to mitigate cost for students now and in the future, as the senate is a direct representation of the student body.

Associated Students carries the responsibility of funding Associated Students Productions, Join Us Making Progress, the Children’s School, Center for Student Leadership Involvement and Service, grants for student-run clubs as well as the Tutorial Center.

“Three dollars is a nominal amount of money that would allow us (Associated Students) to provide these services at Sonoma State,” said Rosenkranz during Friday’s meeting.  “Increasing funding to the Tutorial Center will balance the demand of students.”

As the services offered are free to Sonoma State students, the Tutorial Center has been rendered a student resource for enriching their own education. In October 2014 the Tutorial Center was able to serve students utilizing 61 percent of their entire fund for the academic year.

“Having a resource like the Tutorial Center will help students who are underrepresented and give them the opportunity to utilize all of their resources,” said Chair of the Senate Bianca Zamora.

Despite the influx of student activity at the Tutorial Center, they have been unable to hire more tutors due to lack of finances – this fee is designed as a solution to the issue.

“I think the Tutorial Center is growing per year and the $3 fee is important in maintaining this program,” said Arts and Humanities Senator Annie Green.

Because the idea for this fee remains a draft, students are able to state their opinion in the Associated Students meeting on Friday in the Student Center at 1 p.m.