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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Student Senate hears final budget proposals in non-allocable process

Published February 28th, 2013

Facilities and Fees Board Chair Dominic Riel presents budgets.

Facilities and Fees Board Chair Dominic Riel presents budgets for some of the organizations that are not requesting an increase in fees for this year. (Brianna Samson/Student Voice)

The final seven facilities and fees budgets have been presented to the Student Senate.  Five of the seven requested additional fee increases.

If all five increases are passed by Senate, students can expect to pay up to an additional $196.65 next year if living in a double occupancy dorm room.

The Senate will formally vote on these proposals on March 5.

The largest increase requested came from the department of Residence Life. Residence Life requested a 5 percent, or a $188 increase for a double occupancy room or $238 for a single room or suite.

However, Sandi Scott Duex, the director of Residence Life, said during her presentation to Senate that this increase will go toward dorm renovations and wireless upgrades. She also noted that UW-River Falls has consistently ranked in the middle for room costs when compared with the 13 four-year UW institutions.

Part of the increase will also go toward a $50 per semester increase for resident assistants. Scott Duex said that the staff has not received an increase since 2005-2006.
If the fee passes the Senate, students will pay $3,936 an academic year to live in a double room and $4,986 to live in a single or suite room.

While Residence Life requested the largest increase, the Carding Office requested the smallest. If passed, students will pay 15 cents more for their carding segregated fee. Currently, students pay $5 per academic year.

In the presentation by Facilities and Fees Chair Dominic Riel, Riel noted that the fee would help make the ID cards more convenient. Riel said the new program could potentially make cards usable from any computer or mobile phone for students to instantly look up account balances and transaction histories, make or request deposits, report cards lost or found, view locations that accept the campus card for payment and more.

Also requesting a fee increase was the Athletic Department. A.J. Sutter of the men’s track and field team presented the athletic fee request of $2.50 to bring the yearly athletic fee to $100.

Sutter said that some reasons for requesting the increase was that the NCAA is demanding that each team provide an additional official for hockey games, but it is the school that has to pay the cost.

In addition, Sutter said that athletics is not only a powerful recruitment tool for the University, but also a retention tool.

“Many of the budgets requesting a fee increase cite declining enrollment as a reason for the increase. With athletics, we have a solid program that helps with retention of students,” Sutter said at the meeting.
Another organization requesting an increase is municipal services.

Riel said this fee covers utility (water, sewer, electric) charges from the City of River Falls and software maintenance.

UW System software includes the accounting system and the payroll system used by UWRF.
Municipal services is requesting a 7.14 percent increase, or $2, bringing the total fee to $30 per academic year.

The final organization requesting an increase was Student Health Services. It requested an increase of 3 percent, or $4.

Director of Health Services Alice-Reilly Myklebust said a main reason for the request is the increasing costs in health care that is out of Health Services’ control. Students would pay $138 per year if the $4 fee increase was passed. Health Services’ budget includes fees from the River Falls Clinic and Pierce Country Reproductive Health Clinic among others.

Career Services and the University Center requested no increase to their segregated fees. However, Senate will still have to vote to approve both budgets. The Career Services Fee is $38 per academic year and the University Center fee is $455.

All seven proposals plus the eight requested last week will be put to a vote by the Senate at the March 5 meeting.

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