No increase in student fees; Student Affairs takes $22K cut in revised budget proposal


Screenshot from Thursday’s emergency meeting

Student fees will remain flat next year if a revised budget proposal is approved, but many student groups could see a small cut from original allocations.

Members of the Student Fees Committee met in an emergency session Thursday afternoon after President Jay Golden and Vice President of Student Affairs Teri Hall asked the committee to reevaluate the budget.

The original budget that was passed through the committee was deliberated before campus shutdown due to COVID-19 and before the university knew how much enrollment could possibly decrease in the fall.

“We are seeing right now in the sense of headcount and enrollment credit hours, enrollment for the fall is about a 6% decline,” University Budget Director David Miller said. “My gut tells me that that will improve as we continue to work through the summer and folks wait to see what actually happens in the fall.”

Miller presented three different scenarios for the committee to consider. The one they ultimately decided on would keep fees flat and maintain $76,000 in reserves. It does not take into account a possible $550,000 shortfall in fee revenue for next year.

The committee decided to meet later to discuss the shortfall and how to make up for it.

The biggest cut was voluntary. Student Affairs had already sent out a memo to its department, telling them to cut down where they could and prepare for additional budget reductions.

After members made a 1.5% decrease from original allocations excluding Student Health and Counseling and Prevention Services that left about $22,000 that still needed to be made up. The committee decided that Student Affairs would absorb that cut and determine which departments it should come from.

“Each of the directors (under Student Affairs) knows sort of what is within their budget and what is going to hit them so hard that they can’t operate, especially given what could be coming,” Treasurer Colleen Ostermann said.

The fees budget will now be sent to the Student Senate for a first read, but it can also be voted on at that same reading instead of doing a traditional second read. If the senate elects to do a second read, a special session will have to be called, given that the next scheduled meeting is not until fall.