Associated Students is proposing to increase, for the first time in 30 years, the Student Services and Activities base fee.
Currently, students are charged $9.10 per quarter in Student Services and Activities (SSA) base fees. To meet the demands of the next fiscal year, A.S. is proposing a $5.90 increase, for a total of $15 per quarter, which, if passed, would go into effect Fall Quarter of 2001. The SSA base fee is a part of the quarterly $45 overall base fee students currently pay.
“The short-term benefits are that student organizations will have the resources to expand their services,” A.S. acting Executive Director Paige Anderson said.
The SSA base fee was originally established in 1947 to fund the operating costs of student government and student services. In 1947 the fee was $8, and it reached its highest rate of $15 in 1954. The fee was later reduced in 1972 to its current amount and has not changed since.
The SSA Base Fee Initiative will appear on the April 24th and 25th ballot and will require a two-thirds majority, or 66 percent, vote to pass.
Anderson said the current SSA base fee is not sufficient for the needs of A.S. While inflation has risen since 1972, Anderson said the base fee has not climbed in sync with inflation.
The initiative alone might help A.S. fund expenses for the next five to eight years, Rep-at-Large Shaina Walter said.
In 1998, A.S. tried to pass a similar proposal, an increase of $3 in the base fee, but did not get student approval. Inadequate campaigning may have led to the failed proposal, Walter said.
“About 40 percent voted yes [to pass the 1998 proposal], and 60 percent voted no. That’s pretty good for having no publicity,” Walter said.
Money collected from the SSA base fee goes to A.S. to fund administrative services and staffing. The surplus remaining, after A.S. allocates money from the base fee, goes into an account called the “unallocated fund,” which can be used to fund student organizations. When a campus organization needs funding, it asks Finance Board for money from the unallocated fund.
If Finance Board is not able to allocate the funds to the organization, the organization can ask students directly for funding through ballot measures. If approved, the organization’s fee is added onto the total base fee per quarter. Once approved, A.S. is asked to administer the allocation of the lock-in fees to their respective groups.
In a presentation Anderson made in the Hub on Tuesday, he said the current base fee is not enough to pay for administration of lock-in fees and the other activities and groups that A.S. helps fund. Right now, A.S. is covering these losses by recharging organizations that have lock-in fees for administrative services, such as bookkeeping.
The long-term reason to raise the base fee would be to eliminate lock-in fees altogether, Anderson said. “I think that it’s just a better system.”
“The number of organizations with lock-in fees is creating a problem,” Judicial Council Chair Constantine Pastis said. “Our school has more lock-in fees than any other [UC],” he said.
“The goal of the Student Services and Activities Base Fee Initiative is to eliminate the recharge fees on student organizations,” Walter said.
However, some students are cautious of this increase.
Junior political science major Matt Phar said, “It seems that there needs to be someone to oversee A.S. and hold them accountable.”