Examining the budget: Where are the changes?
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 01:02
After last night’s Associated Students of Oregon State University joint session, the student fee levels have now been set. All that remains is President Ed Ray’s signature.
By the numbers, students will pay $10.54 less than they did last year for 2013-14 fall, winter and spring terms, and will pay $4.51 more for summer 2014.
“We are disappointed a lot of organizations didn’t turn in their proposals in time,” said Student and Incidental Fees Committee chairman Brad Alvarez. “We still had a lot of cooperation from the [Auxiliaries and Activities Business Center].”
With an adjustment for enrollment, groups that kept their fee levels the same will still receive more funding from the population increase. Alvarez said groups had to advocate and make arguments to keep their fee levels, which often came from mandatory increases, and even moreso if they wanted additional money from student fees.
“Students and staff had to fight hard to keep or expand their budgets,” Alvarez said.
Where are the changes coming from?
Alvarez explained there are a few of note out of the budget proposals.
The first comes with the Memorial Union and the request for increased student fees to compensate for the loss of revenue from the OSU Beaver Store relocation. The fee will rise $7.40 for next year in fall, winter and spring, and by $10.20 in the summer. The MU also needed additional funds, especially with plans to replace Snell hall with a Student Experience Center in 2014. The money will pour into fixtures, furnishings and equipment for the new building.
For other budgets, the process resulted in cutbacks. The Student Sustainability Initiative fee dropped from $11.07 to $4.14. The committee eliminated the green fee, which goes toward campus sustainability, and suggested the Student Sustainability Initiative spend its excess of working capital on its projects.
The Music Ensembles budget decreased from $4.71 to $2.20. With the cut, Greg Urban, chairman of the student musician advisory board, and the music department will likely ask for a contingency request for more money in the spring.
Alvarez said the cut came because the proposal was subpar and the record keeping for the department was lacking.
“It didn’t seem like they took the process very seriously,” Alvarez said. “We asked them a lot of questions.”
Educational Activities also decreased its budget, using its own working capital to fund its projects for next year.
Three fees haven’t yet been covered by The Daily Barometer.
First, the contingency fund provides money to the committee for emergency dispersal to groups urgently in need of it. As an example, Recreational Sports had contingency requests this year for more equipment and for a travel fund for the women’s rugby team.
Second, the bad debt expense provides money to compensate for students who haven’t paid their fees.
Third, the student facilities improvements will fund improvements to the Student Experience Center, Memorial Union East and McAlexander Fieldhouse.
After hearing from groups across campus for several weeks, confirming the budgets in a final hearing and clearing the fees through the joint session, the Student and Incidental Fees Committee will now move on to other tasks. The group will review contingency requests, elect the next SIFC chair and review the summer fee level before drawing to a close.
Alvarez, in his second year on the committee, said he’s seen the group change while he has been on board.
“I think it helps I did this last year,” Alvarez said. “I am able to see what went wrong and what went well. I think it has improved.”
Jack Lammers, news editor
On Twitter @Jacklammers