$5 fee to precipitate capital
ASU to benefit from student actvity cost
Published: Monday, May 21, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2012 19:05
An outstanding balance of at least $5 for this semester will hit the district’s students signing up for courses beginning with summer term enrollment.
The district Governing Board has put into effect a mandatory student activity fee of $5 that was approved last spring, which is designed to provide funding for the Associated Student Union groups at Contra Costa, Diablo Valley and Los Medanos colleges.
The Student Center of California Community Colleges made a resolution to give districts the option to create student activity fees.
The student governments of the three district colleges discussed and approved the student activity fee, and Governing Board trustees passed it as of the 2011 spring semester, ASU President Rodney Wilson said.
“Originally, when I first heard about the fee, I wasn’t in favor of it,” he said. “But as I researched more , I realized how beneficial it could be for the ASU and the students we represent and serve.”
The student activity fee allows the ASU to provide funding for campus clubs, events, activities and campus-based programs that benefit the student population. Examples of programs which the activity fee could support are student scholarships, textbook scholarships, multi-cultural campus events, and community outreach programs.
Paid by every student at all three campuses, the student activity fee is designed to raise funds for the ASU. The funds that are collected will then be used to support student services like free student identification cards, flu shots, condoms, and food giveaways and funding student clubs.
The fee will also support Welcome Week activities, Middle College High School events and dances and will go toward other student events.
“The ASU over the past couple of years has been completely rebuilding our connections with our students,” said ASU Rep. Albert Ambris. “The student activity fee will help give us the funding to continue to promote these connections through events and other activities.”
When researching options on how to increase funding to the ASU budget for activities, services, and events, the ASU noticed that many other colleges had enacted student activity fees at their campuses for the same reason, ASU Executive Vice President Jasmine Ramezanzadeh said.
Merritt College, College of Marin, Chabot College, Laney College, Cal State-East Bay and San Francisco State all charge student activity fees.
Contra Costa College’s $5 student activity fee is the cheapest fee of all of the other local colleges, Ambris said.
ASU senators wanted something that most people in the community could afford, ranging from $3 to $8, and decided on a fee of $5, he said.
The current head count for the spring semester is 8,088, said Tim Clow, senior dean of research and planning at the district.
If the head count remains the same by the end of the fiscal year despite drop outs and withdrawals, the fee would bring in a total of $40,440 to the college’s ASU.
But the ASU will not know exactly how much revenue they have raised until the end of the fiscal year in July. The ASU will have to wait until the end of each semester to see the overall revenue from that semester, Wilson said.
“We have done the best we could with our current budget, which was around $25,000 over the last two years,” he said. “So this fee will definitely give us enough funding to give back to the students through activities, scholarships and events.”
Some students are surprised by the new fee.
“I was hindered from signing up for my classes,” psychology major Hayli Brown said. “It really caught me by surprise, I had no idea what I was even paying for and why.”
Automotive technology major Beto Guirrez agrees.
“It was a shock. (The ASU) needs to do a better job of getting that information out to the students,” he said. “Hopefully they will be able to do this in the future with this (fee).”
Other students found the fee reasonable and beneficial if the funds are used for students.
“Five dollars is not hard to pay, especially when it’s for something as important as this,” culinary arts major Semaj Clayton said. “But I want to see an improvement in future activities and events (the ASU puts) on.”
Biotechnology major Kaelan Taylor agreed.
“I’m confident the ASU will use the funds properly,” Taylor said.
Interim Dean of Students Vicki Ferguson said the fee will help the ASU sustain itself and give it a better opportunity to provide students with relevant events and resources.
“I can understand why people wouldn’t want to pay this (fee), especially in the current budget crisis, but it will be going toward something that is truly beneficial, not only for helping sustain the ASU, but the whole college community,” she said.