While North Dakota may be the most steady state in the country, there is also an increasingly prevalent need to meet costs of inflation on all levels at universities.
After a few years of going without a raise, NDSU members involved with the student activities fee will be requesting an increase in funding. The NDSU technology fee will also be requesting a financial boost.
These fees all come from student fees which are charged every year to NDSU students.
“We analyze it every year,” said NDSU student body president Robbie Lauf. “The validity of a request is determined during the proposal process.”
The proposal process is elaborate, which is necessary measure for the student dollar to be used as wisely as possible.
The NDSU student fee advisory board take requests from six groups for mandatory fees. From there, the board takes the requests to NDSU president Dean Bresciani and recommend what changes should take place. Bresciani’s cabinet then will make a final decision on what changes — if any — take place.
Student government executive commissioner of finance Walter Lanza said there are many different branches involved with changing of activities fees. The finance advisory board takes requests to the student fee advisory board after talking with representatives from different groups including athletics, performing arts and the Memorial Union.
“Our goal is when we increase (fees) is to not to just give these organizations and entities more money,” Lanza said. “That money is going to be better utilized so the student body can see the benefits. We try to be very fiscally conservative and that’s what we do before we decide to increase fees.”
Though campus groups are looking for an increase, it isn’t possible to raise their individual fee by more than 1 percent of tuition a year. For example, if tuition were $100, they couldn’t ask for more than a $1 increase over a school year.
Lauf said the student activity fee includes athletics. He said it is necessary for athletics to also increase their budget to make sure that NDSU can stay competitive in Division I athletics.
However, Lauf said the main focus is to make sure the money is spent wisely.
“There are a lot of fees on campus,” Lauf said, “but we also want to be as respectful to the student dollar as possible.”
Two open forums were scheduled for students to ask questions and get feedback. The first was last Tuesday and the second will be on Jan. 21 in the Memorial Union Century Theater at 12:30 p.m.
Student body vice president Erik Diederich expressed his concerns for how the additional funds were spent. He said the fact that those involved with the recommendations are made up of students is an important factor for the fiscal responsibility they are shooting for.
“I think the most important part about the student fee advisory board is that it consists of students,” Diederich said. “It’s the students who in the end that definitely have a majority in the say of if that fee is applied or not.”
Lanza and Diederich agreed that those involved with the process want to be conservative with not only the process of increasing fees, but also with the money once it is distributed.
“We’re students paying the exact same fee,” Diederich said. “If it’s not directly benefiting or enhancing a service (NDSU) organizations are providing, it wouldn’t be something we would make the students pay for.”
While increases have yet to be determined for certain, Lauf said he would be surprised if there weren’t any increases at all. He explained that small boosts would not only be better for NDSU decision makers, but its students as well.
“It would be quite shocking if there weren’t some increase,” Lauf said. “The goal is to do small incremental fee increases versus every once in a while really large ones. It’s better for budgeting for everybody as well and that way it doesn’t sneak up on students.”