Staff Editorial: Raise the student fee

Every fall, student organizations come up short.

This is due to the growing number of student organizations on campus, which has surpassed 500. As a result, there simply isn’t enough money to adequately support all clubs and organizations on campus.

The Student Association is asking students to vote on a referendum to increase the student fee. And today, students have a chance to ensure that future Colonials will have adequate funding.

Students should vote in favor of the student fee increase. In the long run, it is an investment that will both directly benefit students as well as improve the the quality of programming that organizations can provide.

The SA cannot be expected to continue having enough money to fund the growing number of student groups if the pool of funding they have to allocate does not increase as well.

It’s a perennial problem that won’t be fixed without some sort of intervention on the part of the SA.

Today, students pay $1.00 per credit hour and the University matches this with 50 cents.

The SA is looking to double this money from $1.50 to $3.00. But to make this cost as affordable as possible, it will be phased in over the course of 6 years. In actuality, the referendum calls for a mere 25 cent increase per credit per year.

But current students would not have to pay any more than they already do: The increase would start in the fall of 2013 with the incoming freshman class.

Opponents of the SA initiative say that instead of increasing fees, the SA should work to combine student groups with similar interests to save money. But combining groups would be unfair to student organizations since they would be forced to share a budget with others who might have a different mission.

There is a huge number of organizations on campus, and we cannot expect our SA senators to know the differences and nuances between all of them.

All too often, students feel as though their tuition dollars go to funding programs and initiatives that have no direct benefit on their day-to-day lives.

But this minimal fee increase will have noticeable and tangible benefits for every student. It will guarantee that student organizations will have adequate funding and will allow clubs to provide programming that would not otherwise be possible.

The funds that are allocated by the SA to student groups will inevitably go toward creating a positive college experience for students on campus.

But students should not be the only ones who should be expected to foot this bill.

The University has to continue to make funding student organizations more of a priority, and they can do this by agreeing to match student contributions to the SA’s allocations budget. If students agree to pay more, the University should agree to comply as well.

In the past few years, the University’s development office has been ramping up the number of alumni that give back to their alma mater. The University should work to solicit more philanthropic support for student clubs.

25 cents might not seem like much. But when all students put in a little extra, it can go a long way in ensuring the quality of student programming across the University.

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