March 26, 2008
Our University Mission statement says:
"California State University, Northridge exists to enable students to realize their educational goals. The University's first priority is to promote the welfare and intellectual progress of students..."
Hence, the student experience is strongly influenced by the quality of instruction, the quality of instructionally-related activities, the availability of support services, and the spirit of the campus. During the past several years the university's ability to sustain quality opportunities and services has been challenged by increasing utilization of services, while funding has trailed actual costs. The university vice presidents have studied this situation and propose a new student fee be considered to ensure the quality of students' experience.
Issues to be Addressed
- Course-Specific Fees
Nearly 70% of undergraduate students will take one or more courses each semester for which a "lab fee" or "supplies and material" fee is assessed; nearly 33% of all undergraduate students report paying such course-specific fees every semester. The majority of students paying course-specific fees report paying more than $25.00 per semester in lab and material fees.
The $300,000 in fees collected does not cover the $1,000,000 in costs associated with labs, materials, and supplies used in instruction because these fees have not been increased to keep pace with increasing costs. Insufficient funding means in order to pay for the necessary labs, materials, and supplies, the academic departments offer 60-70 fewer course sections of 20 or more students in each section. Without the additional funding provided through the Students' Quality Experience Fund fee, consideration of course-specific fee increases will be necessary.
The proposed fee will eliminate course-specific fees while providing improvements in course related equipment and materials and allow for more course sections to be offered.
- Advancements in Technology
Students have benefited by having technology available in their classrooms, in their lab study areas, and through access to web-based services. Examples include the myNorthridge portal, email, labs, wireless, and SOLAR.
The pace of technological change requires the University to be flexible and adaptable in it adoption, utilization, and support of technology infrastructure services. Increasingly the University is expected to "keep up" with the latest technology advancements supporting communication, classroom instruction, and business practices.
The university's ability to stay current and provide service is challenged by the volume of new technologies. CSUN does not have a fee to sustains our computer, network, and portal infrastructure, and advance our technologies such as more extensive wireless and podcasting. Without new funds we will be forced to increasingly use older technologies rather than the latest and best.
- Instructionally Related Activities (IRA)
The university is not funded to support experiences and activities that supplement classroom instruction yet are vital to the quality of the learning experience. The CSU Chancellor issued an Executive Order in 1978 that allowed campuses to establish a fee to support instructionally related activity (IRA). CSUN established an IRA fee in 1979 of $15.00 per semester. The fee has not been raised in nearly 30 years. Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the fee has eroded since its inception to approximately $5.35 in constant dollars. Students are increasingly paying out-of-pocket to participate in these important learning opportunities.
Each year the IRA Board receives two to three times more requests for funds than funds are available. As a result, the allocation to activities such as music performance groups, engineering projects, Model United Nations, Daily Sundial, and nearly 90 others receive fewer dollars each year. Nearly 50% of CSUN undergraduate students are involved either directly or indirectly with instructionally related activities. Without additional funding the quality of the instructionally related experiences will diminish as will the number of students who have the opportunity to participate.
- Student Support Services
Academic advisement, personal counseling, career counseling, tutoring, the Bayramian Hall service counter, and orientation are just a few examples of support services. Support services aid students in managing the challenges of college life. Regardless of the nature of the service the one thing they have in common is a commitment to student success.
The availability of services has not kept pace with increasing student desire to use the services. This means students face long waits to see advisors and counselors. It means that service hours are insufficient. It means students don't receive the assistance they need. This situation will only worsen without new funds dedicated to serving students.
- Campus Spirit/Athletics
Think about UCLA, USC, Ohio State, University of Miami, and Duke University. What do they have in common? They have great campus spirit. That spirit is first and foremost associated with the great tradition of college athletics. Spirit at CSUN ebbs and flows with the success of our athletic teams. Nearly 75% of students questioned recently about CSUN athletics wanted CSUN to be more competitive. Unfortunately, we often compete against others whose resources allow for better facilities, equipment, academic support, travel, etc. CSUN student athletes are at a disadvantage when compared to most of their peers. Some CSUN teams have to prepare their competition area before they can practice, others purchase their own equipment, and others stay with family or friends when away competing because funds are not available to pay for hotel rooms.
Students increasingly point to a strong athletic program as an important contributor to the quality of their student experience. CSUN student athletes are dedicated to their sport and to representing CSUN to the best of their ability. The reduction in student athlete scholarship funds combined with increased cost of attendance has resulted in the university's inability to meet our obligations to our student athletes. With additional financial support for student athletes and the athletic program we can build more campus spirit.
To establish the Students' Quality Experience Fund and phase in a $100 per semester fee over three years to provide the resources to meet the above identified needs.
Table 1. PROPOSED FEE SCHEDULE
for the Campus Quality Fee
Projected headcount is factored at 2% growth for 2008/09 through 2010/11 and then 1% growth factor from 2011/12 and 2012/13
Table 2. MONETARY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
for the Campus Quality Fee
|Total Fees Collected||$2,625,000||$5,416,500||$7,328,600||$8,025,600||$8,270,800|
|Use of Fees Collected:|
|Eliminate Course fees||$1,000,000||$1,000,000||$1,000,000||$1,000,000||$1,000,000|
|Advancements in technology||$1,000,000||$1,500,000||$2,000,000||$2,000,000||$2,000,000|
|IRA-type support||$500,000||$ -||$ -||$ -||$ -|
|Student support services||$200,000||$700,000||$1,000,000||$1,000,000||$1,000,000|
|Student allocation||$250,000||$250,000||$250,000||$ -||$ -|
|Campus spirit/athletics||$ -||$ -||$1,000,000||$1,000,000||$1,000,000|
|Athletic equipment & facilities||$400,000||$400,000||$400,000|
|Subtotal of Uses||$2,950,000||$5,050,000||$7,250,000||$7,000,000||$7,000,000|
* To accommodate inflation and provide operational stability to items noted above, beginning in 2011/12, we will be increasing the fee by $2/year with the resulting 60% calculation applied to summer term.
**These funds will release an equivalent amount of money from the Associated Students (AS) budget that has supported athletic scholarships based upon prior AS Athletic Fee Referenda and as modified by the AS Board of Directors, November 2001. Through negotiation with AS, the university will seek a binding agreement to permanently direct to the IRA fund $1,000,000, $200,000 to the student athlete's scholarship fund, and $300,000 to be maintained by AS and allocated in accordance with the process established by the Board of Directors.
***University will cover projected shortfall in first year
Statements For and Against the Fee Proposal
STATEMENT FOR THE FEE PROPOSAL
- Students will have decision-making authority over a large pool of funds in order to fund programs and services they deem most important.
- The proposed fee will eliminate course specific fees while providing improvements in course-related equipment and materials and allow for more course sections to be offered.
- The proposed fee will allow CSUN to provide greater access to and assistance with technology as well as maintain currency with technological advances.
- The proposed fee will increase student access to critical support services that may not be or are not available otherwise.
- The proposed fee increase will increase allocations to instructionally related activities receiving partial funding and provide access for activities not currently funded. Additionally, the increase in IRA funding will reduce student out-- of-- pocket expense associated with instructionally related activities.
- The proposed fee increase will strengthen the athletic program and provide needed support for the athletes thereby contributing to campus spirit.
- The fee increase reduces the need for consideration of future fee increases for Associated Students, Inc. and the IRA Fund.
- The proposed fee increase over three years will provide nearly $7,300,000 in direct benefit to students.
STATEMENT AGAINST THE FEE PROPOSAL
- Increasing campus-based fees at a time when there is the possibility of a state university fees increase may be a financial burden that some student may not be able to afford.
- Not all students take courses with lab fees or instructionally related activity expenses; they do not receive benefits from a fee to off-set individual costs.
- The campus already has sufficient computing labs, wireless access, and access to help; adding more is just wasting money.
- Students should be able to take care of themselves if they are in college. Emphasis should not be on increasing support services.
- Some students only come to campus to attend class and earn a degree. They do not attend athletic events and do not care about campus spirit.
- The students who will decide on the allocations may spend the money in ways other students disapprove of.
- Students only control a small proportion of the fee.
- Many students will not directly benefit from the fee increase.