Student activity fee increase passes in campus referendum

The student activity fee increase that passed Thursday will add $90 to tuition bills once it is fully implemented in six years.

The increase, which passed with 66 percent of the vote, will gradually double the Student Association’s budget over the next nine years to $1.75 million. It will only affect future students because of GW’s fixed tuition policy.

Students will pay $3 per credit hour – up from $1.50 – with a 50-cent match from the University.

“Every organization, campus-wide event and sports team will be better funded,” SA Finance Committee chair Alex Mizenko said.

Mizenko said the extra $30,000 coming in next year will help smaller, typically underfunded groups. He added that he hopes the SA will give new organizations more than the $100 minimum in first-time allocations, which often occurred this year.

“A key part of this will be helping those smaller organizations. Bigger organizations will get more funding also, but our intention isn’t to pump more money into larger organizations,” Mizenko said.

Student Association President Ashwin Narla and Executive Vice President Abby Bergren said they still have to overhaul the allocations system to fix larger problems like the ongoing shortage of funding and confusing application processes.

Narla said the SA will create a student committee to recommend ways to improve the funding process in the future, like increasing the student fee at the pace of inflation or allocating funds differently depending on the type of organization.

The last fee increase, instituted in 2008, boosted the SA’s budget each year up until this fall. The SA’s budget totaled $945,000 this year, about $60,000 less than last year.

Director of the Center for Student Engagement Tim Miller said that because the finance committee’s allocations process changes every year, it is hard for student organizations to keep up.

“The challenge now is to put the systems in place to manage this money appropriately on behalf of the students – whose money it really is,” Miller said.

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