The 2016 student fee advisory board denied funding increases to numerous campus entities Thursday in meetings to vote on student fee increase proposals.
The board voted against increasing funding to North Dakota State’s technology and student activity fees. The latter includes the Memorial Union, Campus Attractions, Campus Recreations and Intramurals, NDSU athletics and the tier II budget.
SFAB approved two options for proposals of increased funding to fees for student health services, the North Dakota Student Association and the Wellness Center for its Aquatic Center addition.
Student health services requested funding as it has received no increase since 2010 while it stretched out a five-year plan to six years.
The North Dakota Student Association requested an increase of $0.01.
The SFAB is a 14-member board composed of 10 voting members, six of which are students. McDaniel is board chair and a tiebreaker.
Provost Beth Ingram, vice president for student affairs Timothy Alvarez and vice president for finance and administration Bruce Bollinger are non-voting members.
McDaniel said, “It’s a simple majority for any vote to pass.”
McDaniel also said that all fees came down to “who needs it right now.”
“In my opinion, I think SFAB kind of looked at what’s a dire need too, it kind of came down to three different categories, a need, a want and a dire need,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said a dire need are things that are needed to fully maintain student services, student experience or base funding, that would have otherwise been cut.
The two options SFAB approved include an extra $3.77 per credit or an extra $2.81 per credit, respectively.
Both options include a $2.26 increase per credit to the Aquatic Center addition, as much as the Wellness Center requested.
Option 1 offers a $1.50 per credit increase to student health services while Option 2 details a $0.54 per credit increase. Student health services requested an increase of $3.33 per credit.
For the 2015-16 academic year, NDSU students paid $50.66 per credit, or $607.86 for a full-time undergraduate taking at least 12 credits.
The SFAB reviewed a possible total $8.76 increase per credit in its meeting Wednesday and Thursday.
SFAB’s recommendations will be forwarded to President Dean Bresciani, who will sign off on the increase proposals before Feb. 25.
“While this is the board’s recommendation, this process is still ongoing and is not finalized,” student government said in an email. “Any future updates will be communicated as information becomes available.”
In its increase proposal, NDSU athletics requested an extra $1.67 per credit per semester from students, or a 35 percent increase from $4.70 per credit, what students paid in 2015-16.
“The North Dakota State University athletic department understands the NDSU Student Finance Advisory Board today voted to not increase funding to numerous campus entities, including athletics,” Ryan Perreault, athletics communication director, said in an email. “The decisions were made in the best interest of the student body, and we respect and support that decision.”
In terms of the athletic fee increase, McDaniel said that, “the student fee of athletics should be their contingency plan.”
McDaniel also added, “a lot of students didn’t like the aspect of paying using student fees for something that was going to benefit them as alumni and not when they’re in school.”
McDaniel said that student fees are meant to have benefits to students while the students are in school, and that SFAB only increases fees for the next year.
The SFAB also denied funding to the Memorial Union, to which MU director Steve Winfrey said in an email, “SFAB has a responsibility most cannot fathom. The group had a very challenging task sorting through university priorities and how to best serve our community. We should all appreciate their work.”
McDaniel said the SFAB’s vote to not approve funding increases for these entities and others “simply means that their student fee per credit rate will remain the same for the 2016-2017 academic year.”
“Everything that was declined, I’m 99.9 percent sure it won’t come back into it,” McDaniel said.
SFAB met Wednesday and Thursday in a closed meeting. McDaniel said he kept the meeting closed because it doesn’t have a public comment section.
Four open forums in late January allowed for student input, he said, adding he received many responses and emails to proposed fee increases.
SFAB will make its recommendations to Bresciani, who must sign off on the increase proposal before Feb. 25.
McDaniel said Bresciani is unlikely to rule against students’ votes and voices.
Six of the 10 voting members of the SFAB are students representing various entities.
“If we give him a number, I would say all he would do was decrease it. I don’t think he’d add on something,” McDaniel added. ” … He wouldn’t say, ‘I want this also’ because the majority of this is students.”
If the student fee increases total more than $67.62 per semester, or more than the 1 percent tuition cap, the state board of higher education must approve.
Casey McCarty contributed to this story.