Student Fee Committee reduces summer fees

Associated+Students+of+Oregon+State+University%E2%80%99s+Student+Fee+Commitee+sets+the+summer+fees%2C+which+are+banked+to+fund+eight+units+around+campus.+The+SFC+voted+to+lower+fees+for+the+summer+2022+term.

H. Beck, Illustrator

Associated Students of Oregon State University’s Student Fee Commitee sets the summer fees, which are banked to fund eight units around campus. The SFC voted to lower fees for the summer 2022 term.

Sam Misa, News Contributor

During the 2021-22 school year, the Student Fee Committee, which makes decisions on incidental and Student Facility Improvement fees, voted to remove the incidental fees from what students taking summer classes are required to pay.

The SFC is an advisory board composed of both students and professional staff for the purpose of providing guidance on how much students should be charged for student-run service positions on campus. There are eight units that the SFC makes financial decisions for, including the Memorial Union, Student Experiences and Engagement, Associated Students of OSU, recreational sports, performing arts, Basic Needs Center—formerly the Human Services Resource Center—Family Resource Center and intercollegiate athletics. 

The Daily Barometer, which is a part of Orange Media Network, falls under SEE and is impacted by the financial decisions of the SFC. 

According to Matteo Paola, ASOSU president as of June 1, the reduction in fee costs over the summer should encourage more students to take summer classes. However, Paola also said he believes that many students don’t even know what the SFC incidental fee is.

“I see posts on Reddit and like this word all the time, like, what is this incidental fee?” Paola said. “I think it’s like a university administration thing, but I think [the SFC fee change] is a positive change.”

The incidental fee is one that is charged to all students of OSU; students who paid incidental fees this year will not need to pay for a gym membership over this summer.

According to SFC Committee Chair Mak Khan, voting on SFC fee changes are restricted only to student positions within ASOSU; non-student members of the SFC Committee are only there to provide advice and feedback. 

“A couple of years ago, the fee committee made a requirement for all of these advisory boards [including the SFC] to not have more than one-third be professional staff,” Khan said. “They’re still majority students.”

One of those things that the majority student board alongside the greater ASOSU was to set a new minimum wage for student workers including those who work at Dixon.

The Student Facility Improvement fee of $48.50 will be the only remaining summer fee because it cannot be removed by the SFC themselves. The SFI fee is utilized by the university to pay off the debts incurred by the school in building and developing the different parts of OSU’s campus.

“In 2011 or so we took out a bunch of bonds, like $48 million,” said Joe Page, SFC Chair. “[It was] to pay for building this [Student Experience Center], to build SEC Plaza, to build student legacy park, and add turf fields in McAlexander [Fieldhouse], there’s a few different projects that went into that.” 

As a result of a referendum in that year, students of OSU agreed to pay an additional fee alongside the normal SFC incidental fees to go towards paying off the debt, according to Page. 

To make up for the money lost from reducing summer fees, the SFC voted to increase fees during the regular school year. However, according to Khan, the price increases won’t have to be as high as expected. 

“We were expecting there to be an 8% decline in enrollment because of COVID-19,” Khan said. “That didn’t happen. We weren’t as worse off.” 

This means that because this year’s student attendance numbers are projected to be higher than previously calculated, the SFC committee was able to dilute costs of fees across more people.

“That gave us a little bit of cushion to be able to absorb that cost, and then be able to do everything we wanted to do without a huge price tag attached to it,” Khan said. 

While costs of SFC fees may have increased due to inflation and increases in student worker wages for the regular school year, summer students now need to only worry about the flat $48.50 fee from the SFC.