In order to stave off the bill collectors, UCSB will siphon off an extra $3 million from programs and departments on campus that receive money from students.
The cash will come in the form of a tax on 30 entities across the campus ranging from the UCen to Housing and Residential Services to the child care center. The programs – which already face tremendous budget restraints due to cuts from Sacramento – will in most cases be forced to hand over thousands of dollars to the university’s coffers.
For the past 25 years, the tax – known as the non-state-funded administrative support fee – had been set at 1 percent. Now, in light of the budget crisis, the upper echelons of the campus administration have quadrupled the tax on services paid by student lock-in fees.
The tax increases on the departments – the offices of the chancellor, executive vice chancellor, vice chancellor of administrative services, vice chancellor of institutional advancement and vice chancellor of student affairs – will yield $2.9 million in revenue to offset a part of the $16 million budget cut faced by the university.
This 4 percent tax, which is distributed unevenly across programs in these departments, has been designed to mitigate overall cuts and “spread out the pain.” That said, some programs have been taxed tens of thousands of dollars and are scrambling to adjust.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Young, whose division stands to lose over $600,000 from the tax, said a decrease in student affairs funding translates directly into a decrease in student services.
“Virtually all the services that exist to support students have had resources taken from them, which means there will be less money and people to assist students,” Young said. “For example, there won’t be as many psychologists to provide counseling at counseling services, the full array of medical staff and services we want may be limited, there may be less counseling support in EOP and the fees in departments such as child care will likely increase.”
The following non-state funded departments are required to pay an increased tax to the university. The exact dollar amount owed by each department is listed below:
** Housing and Residential Services: owes $1,481,772 **
Executive Director of Housing and Residential Services Wilfred Brown said that with the tax increase creating a million dollar shortfall for the department to cope with, staff have been forced to reevaluate resource management.
“We’re looking at not filling vacant positions and we’ve been very aggressive about conserving our utilities,” Brown said. “We’ve been going through an educational campaign to help students understand that waste equals money, so we’re asking students to be more aware of how much energy they’re using and food they’re wasting.”
** Student Health: owes $214,883 **
At Student Health, Director Dr. Elizabeth Downing said the center will be doing everything possible to deal with the suddenly increased tax while maintaining Student Health’s primary goal of protecting the students of UCSB.
“We are in a very aggressive planning stage right now, but we are going to try to pass [the cuts] on to the students as little as possible,” Downing said. “That’s what we’re aiming for.”
** Recreation: owes $174,928 **
Jon Spaventa, director of the Recreation Dept., said his division is still in the process of deciding how to approach the dire financial situation.
“Right now we’re exploring a number of different strategies in order to save money, such as reducing hours and increasing fees in order to keep this thing rolling,” Spaventa said. “It’s difficult, painful and frustrating for all of us, but you’ve got to look at the whole country, and that’s just what’s happening.”
** Associated Students: owes $72,602 **
A.S. President John Paul Primeau said A.S. is currently fighting to avoid the tax altogether by signing a legal document with the campus to reject the tax.
“As students, we are conscientiously objecting the tax,” Primeau said. “This could be a tremendous budgetary hit to A.S., and how we handle the impact is something that is to be decided over the next two weeks.”
** Child Care Center: owes $38,038 **
Leslie Voss, director of the UCSB Orfalea Family Children’s Center, said she plans to condense parent support groups from the two existing locations to a single site in order to avoid firing employees.
“There are no layoffs planned at all, and the same amount of children are being served,” Voss said. “I am really aware of how large this economic problem is as a whole, and the need for everyone to play a role to try to address it. I truly do believe that issues like this give you opportunities to think of new creative ways of doing things, and that’s our approach.”
** Library: owes $24,469 **
Librarian Chimene Tucker said budget cuts will have severe consequences for the campus as a center of scholarly research.
“A well-funded library is needed in order to support the research needs of the campus,” Tucker said. “Currently, the library is not adequately funded. As the campus grows [and] new departments and centers are created, the library does not receive any additional funding to recruit librarians, to support the new departments or to acquire the much needed resources for these new programs on campus.”
Numerous other campus entities are required to pay the impending NSFAS tax in varying amounts by the month’s end. Parking Services, the Economic Forecast Project, the UCen and Arts & Lectures are notable examples. Unfortunately, as of press time, representatives from these departments were either unavailable or declined to comment.