The university Board of Trustees approved a $10 increase in the student activity fee Friday. The fee, which is currently $15 per quarter, will be increased to $25 per quarter for all enrolled students, effective Winter Quarter 2010.
Undergraduate Student Government president Ben Anthony and Kerry Hodak, the vice president of the Council of Graduate students, spoke to the Fiscal Affairs Committee Thursday in support of the fee increase.
“[The fee] can really enhance the experience undergrads can have,” said Hodak, who was an undergraduate at OSU when the mandatory fee was first implemented in 2003. “That’s why I am here today. It helps students contribute to their community here and to the community worldwide.”
The fee, which hasn’t been increased since its implementation, contributes to the Ohio Union Activities Board, individual student organizations, the Explore Columbus program and USG.
In 2008, a review of funding for student activities was conducted by the Council of Student Affairs. After 25 meetings and 60 hours, the Council recommended the fee increase, along with an expansion of the scope of the funding.
“Extensive surveying really demonstrated the sense of value of the programs in students,” Anthony said. “They want and demand a wider range of funding.”
Anthony and Hudak mentioned several programs that can benefit from the fee increase. For example, Buck-I-Serve, which provides public-service opportunities for students during school breaks, turns away 50% of applicants due to a lack of funding, Anthony said.
Other benefits include more resources and stable funding, as well as greater ticket availability for special events.
The increase will also make it possible to secure large events, as requested by students, in the future. Some past large events on campus have been concerts by big names such as Ludacris and T-Pain and comedy performances by Chris Rock and Will Ferrell.
“There have been extraordinary learning experiences offered since the implementation of the fee,” Hodak said. “[The increase] will provide a continued strong environment for recruitment and retention of students.”
The fee increase will generate an estimated $3.75 million annually and there will be no increase in the fee until fiscal year 2015.
Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Committee Joann Davidson recommended the increase to the Board in her committee report on Friday, and the increase was approved by the rest of the Board later in the meeting.