Counseling Services is asking students to support an increase in fees in an effort to maintain its quality of services.
The proposition would increase student fees for graduates and undergraduates by $10.85 per quarter in order to prevent cuts to psychological services and crisis intervention programs. Of the $10.85 fee, $8.06 would go to Counseling Services, with a $0.08 administrative fee and $2.71 returned to financial aid. This fee would be collected quarterly from each student in addition to the current $2.69.
The measure, officials say, would allow the program to maintain its current staff levels, which have become strained under the weight of university budget cuts. According to Counseling Services Director Jeanne Stanford, the service is already understaffed.
“With the $8.06, we hope to sustain our service to the campus community,” Stanford said. “Student appointments have increased 48 percent in the last three years and, unfortunately, we have a high psychologist to student ratio — one psychologist for every 2,077 students. The ratio should be one psychologist for every 1,000-1,500 students.”
Counseling Services is the campus facility that focuses on the psychological needs of undergraduates, graduate students, professors and school staff members. The program has grown to accommodate the community in recent years, opening offices in the San Clemente graduate student housing complex and the Student Resource Building on campus.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young said offering counseling services on campus is a major priority.
”It is the number one issue about which I have the most concern,” Young said. “It really is life or death in some cases and it also impacts people’s abilities to have successful academic careers, and having enough psychologists here at UCSB is critical and vital. The number who are in need of counseling support continues to rise, and we believe our job is to be as responsive to those as we possibly can.”
Third-year biopsychology major Kat Bodden said while she thinks students should not bear the burden of funding essential services, this measure deserves monetary support from the student body.
“I think it’s ridiculous that the student body is now responsible for funding crisis intervention and therapy services,” Bodden said. “These are necessary services that should be provided by the university. However, since this isn’t the case due to budget cuts, I plan to support this bill.”
Voting will take place April 19-22. The new fee would take effect Fall Quarter of this year and would be adjusted every five years based on campus cost of living assessments.
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