ASULV mulls fee hike

The Associated Students of the University of La Verne are looking to increase the student activities fee from $90 – a figure stagnant since 1982 – to $270, an increase to be phased in over the next two years.

“This is a fee where you will see a return,” said Rida Fatima, ASULV president.

The proposal is based on fees at surrounding and similar schools.

The median fee for comparable area schools to ULV is about $400.

The increase also takes into consideration the inflation during the past 20 years.

“What can you get for $90? … Nothing,” said Mercy-Faith Kimbwala, ASULV vice president of communications. “You can’t even buy a book for that.”

“In honesty, it would have come sooner,” Chip West, assistant dean of student affairs, said. “The issue has come up for the last three years. It’s been a part of student government discussion.”

As the adviser for the student government, West witnessed the students’ desire to raise funding for activities but in the end ASULV, formerly ASF, decided to reorganize its structure before attempting to address the fee increase.

Last year, when ASULV revamped its constitution, the group’s leaders researched comparable schools and noticed a significant difference in the number of student programs.

The organization decided to pursue its proposal this year, because last year ASULV focused on refining advocacy.

“We saw a need that the cost of school was becoming more expensive than it’s worth,” Kimbwala said. “[This fee] is a nice buffer to show students what they are paying for.”

As of now, ASULV works with a budget of roughly $144,000. If the proposed fee is approved the organization will have $432,000.

The fee breakdown categories are divided into six sections: Campus Activities Board, Greek Life Programs, Leadership, ASULV, Sophomore/Junior and Senior Programs, and Collegiate and Issue Representation.

“Not just one group benefits; the entire campus would benefit from this increase,” West said.

The fee for Campus Activities Board, increased to $128,000 and broken down to $80 per student, includes events such as intramural sports, concerts, speakers, winter formal and spirit programs, designed to increase support for ULV’s athletics team.

Currently, the student activities fee does not include Greek Life programs.

With the proposed fee, increased to $64,000 and broken down to $40 per student, Greek programs do not have to rely completely on Greek members for funding.

Creating a Greek Life category will free money that is currently being used to fund other clubs and organizations.

Some of the programs include sorority and fraternity recruitment, Greek Leadership Conference and Greek awards and scholarships.

The category of Leadership will increase to $40,000 at $25 per student.

At present, Leadership is not included in ASULV’s budget.

Some of the programs include a campus-wide leadership conference, Club and Organizations Fair, and networking and community-building programs.

This section will also include cultural month programming and multicultural leadership conference and graduation celebrations.

ASULV will receive a fund increase of $144,000 at $90 per student.

The increase will cover academic and multicultural club funding (which allocates funding to each organization on campus), marketing and public relations and ASULV training.

“The reason for the need is clubs and organizations sought funding for worthwhile programs, but the student government did not have the funds to support the programs,” West said.

Another new category worked into the fee increase is Sophomore/Junior and Senior Programs, costing $16,000 at $10 per student.

This will include specialized programs for each class: Freshman Involvement Program, Sophomore Connecting the Spots Program, Junior Major/Career Choice Programs and Seniors Celebrations Programs.

The last category titled Collegiate and Issue Representation with increased funding to $16,000 at $10 per student includes funding of all the colleges and campus wide issues.

ASULV divided the funds of the proposal through a “need-drive initiative,” Fatima said.

“To put on these quality events, we had to think, ‘how much would they cost?’” Fatima said.

“We looked at the median [based on comparable schools] and that’s how we came up with $270,” she added.

The University’s Finance Committee on Board of Trustees will hold its meeting today, where they will discuss, among other topics, the tuition increase.

If the Board does not approve ASULV’s proposal today then the fee increase will not be able to take effect till 2009.

If the fee is approved, Phase I for 2007-2008, increasing the fee to $180, will be worked into next year’s tuition.

Phase II will complete the increase at $270 per student for the school year 2008-2009.

At present, the tuition increased to be proposed today remains at 5.48 percent.

An increase in the student activities fee would take 1.37 percent of this overall increase.

The student activities fee does not appear as a line item in a student’s bill, unlike other fees.

Also, once the proposal is approved the University’s Board of Trustees cannot take or alter the fee.

Only the student government holds the power to change the fee.

“I am 99 percent sure students will see the results of this fee by Phase I,” Fatima said.

“ASULV has plans in the works to do many of these things, but we have no funding,” she added. “If the increase is approved, the changes will be pretty dramatic.”

“This fee is for the students and to keep ASULV accountable so they get what they want and pay for,” Kimbwala said.

Nicole Knight can be reached at

Andres Rivera can be reached at

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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