The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Koester approves new campus fee

Students were not allowed to vote as to whether they could afford a new campus fee, which was approved by CSUN President Jolene Koester between the spring and summer semesters when they were on break.

The “Campus Quality Fee” will increase tuition by $100 in total within the course of the next three years.

There was no vote because students do not typically turn out to do so in great numbers, said Vice President for Student Affairs Terry Piper. Instead, Koester utilized a method called “alternative consultation.”

Koester considered feedback from two open forums for the general student body, one open forum for faculty and staff, and input from other campus groups before she decided.

In addition, students were consulted during March through a Web-based random survey.

Only 15 percent of the students invited to participate in the Web-based survey responded.

Feedback also came from the Student Union Board of Directors and presidents from student organizations before the decision was made to institute the news campus fee.

“The alternative consultation process allowed students to have input,” Piper said. “If they didn’t participate, then they gave up their rights to influence the decision,” Piper said.

Tuition for the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years will increase by $25. The fee will be reduced to $15 per semester in 2009 and 2010, and it will be reduced again to $10 per semester in 2010 and 2011.

Students who pay the new campus fee will no longer have to pay course-specific fees for labs and materials. Their dollars will be spent on course materials, technology, athletics, personal and career counseling.

About 70 percent of undergraduate students enroll in at least one course that requires a lab or material fee for which they used to pay more than $25 per semester.

Revenue generated from the new campus fee will also help pay for instructionally related activities, which include music performance groups, engineering projects, the Daily Sundial newspaper and various cinema projects.

Faculty senators supported approval of the new campus fee because the Instructionally Related Activities fee has not increased for about 30 years, “resulting in acceptance of less than one half of the student project proposals,” one of their past resolutions shows.

Approximately 14 percent of the new fee revenue will be utilized to keep up with the latest technology advancements in the classrooms and library. Students will have more access to Web-based services, which will allow them to utilize more digital resources.

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Harry Hellenbrand said, “The more wireless we can become, the more money we can save.”

Twenty-two percent of revenue generated from the new campus fee will pay for athletics scholarships. Another 14 percent of the new campus fee revenue will be used to support “campus spirit athletics,” which is intended to boost student attendance at sports events.

Stephanie Haibloom, president of the Blues Project, was against the increase but says she was not aware of any forums or methods to receive student input.

“I received a very vague e-mail asking for my opinion on a fee increase in 2009,” Haibloom said. “It didn’t say what it was for. There was no detail. From what I can see, most of the increase is going to the athletics program.”

Results of the Web-based survey revealed that 76.8 percent of the 992 respondents said they were not interested in attending sports events.

Shannon Novikoff, the student assistant for the Blues Project, said that $25 fee increase will not adequately support services that the majority of students need.

“The fee is supposed to support student services, but how far can they stretch $25 from each student? Programs that are affordable and needed are being cut,” Novikoff said. “Campus Quality Fee is a nice name but it is still just another fee.”

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