Wake up and smell the fee

A successful fee is one that will only cost a cup of coffee.

Sonoma State University students have become numb to the idea of paying more for their education in recent years, but skipping that Starbucks fix is worth it today.

This week, students are being asked to vote on a proposal to boost student fees $3 each year for the next four years. Further, students should support this measure. It’s a modest increase that has the potential to provide critical funding for some vital campus programs including the Tutorial Center, Join Us Making Progress and the Children’s School. 

A mission to enrich the lives of Seawolves, Associated Students feels this increase will do just that, by accommodating change in the nature of the campus, in particular with population growth. The most noticeable change being an upsurge of about 1,000 more students this year.

The last Associated Students fee increase was in 2008—a lot has changed since then.

One of the more obvious changes is the Student Center, one of the newest additions to the campus, which has caused a shift in the way Seawolves interact. With having many accessibilities in one place, students know exactly where they can go to get what’s needed, instead of how spread out things used to be.

This fee aims to not only assist with the building’s large scale changes, but primarily provide more funding to other campus entities, such as Join Us Making Progress, a student community service program, Associated Students Productions, for programs and events organized by students, and the Children’s School, an early childhood education center.

While there are other financially supported involvements by Associated Students like various clubs, organizations, scholarships, grants and the Center for Student Leadership Involvement and Service, the first to have the most impact by this fee is the Tutorial Center.

Now, one might ask, how many of these are actually utilized by the majority of students, and why should they vote on it if it’s coming out of their own pockets?

Sure, the most effective argument is students simply shouldn’t have to pay for this. However, Associated Students agrees with this notion, yet understands there is no other answer.

With the way things are right now, this was the only option. An increase of $3 over the next four years, beginning in the 2015-16 academic year, has the first portion going directly to the Tutorial Center, an organization in desperate need of more help.

The current fee of $99 will eventually make its way to $111 by the 2018-19 academic year, prior to Consumer Price Index adjustments.

One concern to consider is if this will actually completely solve the problem, or will students simply end up having to pay for other things down the line? No one can predict what the future holds; especially when everyone involved in the original vote will have graduated, hopefully. It’s assured this fee is an investment future Seawolves will have to take note of.

Yet it doesn’t take away from the fact something needs to change, and Associated Students has considered every possible alternative, numbering it down to this as the sole option.

In an ideal world, students shouldn’t have to pay for this, or anything for that matter. 

But this is the reality of the situation right now, and with that, students need to wake up and smell something other than the coffee. At least a few times in the next four years won’t hurt.