At a senate meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 2, the Associated Students of the University of Nevada voted in support of an ASUN student fee increase from five dollars per credit to $6.10 per credit each semester. The proposed fee increase of a dollar and tent cents per credit would take effect the 2020-2021 academic year, if the Nevada System of Higher Education approves it.
The proposed fee increase comes after inflation Since the 2008-2009 academic school year, there has been a nearly 5,000 student increase at the university.
According to Senator William Prempeh at the meeting, with inflation increasing, student wages staying the same and a growing student population, the ASUN fee increase would be a way to expand resources within ASUN to its fullest potential.
The increase is projected to bring in $450,000 and $500,000 for the school, assuming the student population has no growth the next academic school year.
Funds are planned to go towards ideas like campus escort, club and organization funding, diversity initiatives and inclusion programs. The increase could potentially allow more room for the school to expand new projects and possibly bring back old departments and expand current ones.
In December, ASUN will propose the fee increase to the Board of Regents and they will either approve or disapprove the increase.
According to ASUN Director Sandra Rodriguez, ASUN’s fee was created in 2008 and went into effect in 2009. A campus climate study showed students were in favor of a fee increase.
If approved, the fee would go into effect during Fiscal Year 21, which begins on July 1, 2020. As this fee would go into effect during the next session of ASUN, the president elected in March 2020 will be responsible for allocating the funds when they go into office in April 2020. From there, the Committee of Budget and Finance debate it. Finally, the ASUN Senate will debate and approve or revise it.
“ASUN hasn’t had a fee increase in over ten plus years, and with that we’ve had to cut back on a lot of our services,” Martinez said. “Campus escort is a big one, especially when it comes to our hours and student workers, so we’re really going to try and pick that back up because it’s a resource students love.”
Programs like Campus Escort, free menstrual products system in the Joe Crowley Student Union and Pack Provisions were created by ASUN when students voiced concerns and interest in more welfare initiatives.
“These things wouldn’t have happened if students never voiced concerns,” said Martinez. “I’d like to revamp funding … Our clubs and organizations are always wanting funding so we’re looking towards putting funding in there. Campus escort is going to take a huge amount of that when it comes to gas prices, vehicle repairs and any other initiatives that we can see moving forward for ASUN.”
Since the fee increase will not be presented for approval at the NSHE Board of Regents until December, if it does pass, the next ASUN president and the next Senate session will ultimately decide where the funds will go.
“This is a key time because elections are going to come up and everyone’s going to have to vote for the next president, so the next president is going to decide that budget. I don’t get to decide where the money goes, but I am going to make recommendations on where I’ve seen money is necessary for students. Students want to advocate and talk to people about what we want to see, so it’s a vital time,” said Martinez. “I won’t be here to see the fee increase so it won’t really affect me, but it will affect students of the future, so hopefully we can grow and expand our services and offer more student positions and experiences.”
In 2010, senate wages were approved for a pay raise but funds were never allocated to do so.
The fee increase proposal of a dollar and ten cents—a 20 percent increase—was decided because it would be just enough to not have to go back and increase fees every year, without asking for a larger amount, according to President Martinez. The increase could allow another one not to be required for at least another ten years.
Kennady Pine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KennadyPine.