Associated Students, which is $340,000 in debt and lost nearly $1 million in stock market investments over the last year, is asking students for an $8 per quarter tuition increase on the spring ballot.
Without it student groups will not get any money next year, and services like A.S. Notetaking and Student Health will be forced to cut hours and raise costs.
A.S. gets $9.10 per student, per quarter. The proposal would raise that amount for the first time in 30 years.
“The reason A.S. is talking to students is because there won’t be enough money to support student groups,” A.S. Acting Executive Director Carolyn Buford said. “The fee increase will allow A.S. to begin to try and keep up with inflation and provide with the services that I think students will want.”
Currently, A.S. gives out approximately $150 a year to 50-100 student organizations on campus. None of that will be available if less than 66 percent of students vote to pass the increase. Last year, 60 percent of students voted yes on a similar measure that would have increased the fee by $6 per quarter.
“Without the base fee [increase], student groups won’t get any money, let alone start-up costs,” Legislative Council Rep-At-Large Manuel Silva said.
Although many A.S. members and candidates support the increase, some have reservations about putting more money in the hands of student government.
“I think the base fee will be a good thing if managed correctly, although I have some hesitations. If A.S. is going to get this increase, it comes with the increase in responsibility,” Off-Campus Rep. Jonathan Kalinski said. “In the past, A.S. hasn’t been the greatest budget managers and I’m worried the same thing will happen all over again.”
A.S. has already begun to internally charge A.S. programs such as Notetaking Services and Program Board, as well as campus groups like the Women’s Commission and Isla Vista Tenant’s Union to cover administration costs. These fees, called recharges, would end if the increase passes.
“The money that is coming in is barely stretching to get some of the basic costs left,” Buford said. “We’ve cut and cut and cut to barely manage without the fee increase.”