Fee increase passed for referendum

The proposal for the Associated Students fee increase of an additional $3 each year for the next four years was approved for a referendum vote. This means students are able to vote on the fee increase next semester during the annual Associated Students elections.

Sonoma State University’s student population has significantly grown in past years and will continue to grow in the future. The incoming freshman classes will have 1,800 students and this growth has called for a greater demand in student services and as well as for services calls for greater funding. 

Associated Students has created a draft proposal to increase the student fee in a minimal way that will give big results to effectively meet this need. The draft proposal was approved and will now be moved to a student vote in the spring semester.  

“That increase in the number of students we have or we’re getting because of the 1,800 freshmen isn’t enough to offset the increase in programs and services that the students are wanting,” said Associated Students President Anthony Gallino. “It’s not like we’re trying to expand just for the sake of expanding. We’re noticing that students have a serious desire to participate and this bigger participation requires more dollars than our current AS fee matches.” 

As the STAR has previously reported, the Associated Students was exploring the possibility of raising its current fee of $99 per semester to $111 over the next four years. 

The Associated Students fee has not increased since 2008. A $3 increase a year, $12 over four years, is minimal but would provide additional funding primarily to the Tutorial Center at Sonoma State.  

“In 2018-19, which will be the final year, it will be about $1.95 million in student fee revenue,” said Associated Students Chief Financial Officer Adam Rosenkranz.

In the month of October, 1,800 appointments were made at the Tutorial Center and those appointments and student demands utilized 61 percent of their entire fund for the academic year. 

“That really shows the demand for the Tutorial Center is there,” said Rosenkranz, “and that there’s significant heightened usage especially within this year, and I think that’s been partially in line with the increased funding to the Tutorial Center, which has been able to meet the demand of students.”

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

“The AS fee is the only fee that students have direct control over,” said Gallino, “there is no other fee that we have direct control over like that, in terms of how it is spent and in terms of how much the fee is.”  

The next step in this process is for Associated Students to setup a Fee Advisory committee. The committee will then setup a voter information guide that will be published in the STAR prior to the spring election. 

Associated Students hope students are fully informed on the proposed increase to the fee and are able to effectively vote in the student referendum in the spring.