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 and the quality of instruction are greatly influenced by 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.
While nearly 70% of undergraduate students will eventually take one or more courses for which a "lab fee" or "supplies and material" fee is assessed, close to 33% of all undergraduate students report paying such course-specific fees not just now and then, but 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 40-50 fewer course sections of 20 or more students in each section. Without the additional funding provided through the Campus Quality 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 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 services is challenged by the volume of new technologies. Without new funds we will be forced to increasingly use older technologies rather than the latest and best.
Instructionally Related Activities (IRA)
Because the university is not funded to support experiences and activities that supplement classroom instruction that are vital to the quality of the learning experience, CSUN established an IRA fee in 1979 of $15.00 per semester. The fee has not been raised in nearly 30 years. Students are increasingly paying out-of-pocket to participate in these important learning opportunities.
Each year the IRA Board receives two times more requests for funds than are available. As a result, the allocation to activities such as music performance groups, engineering projects, Model United Nations, Daily Sundial, cinema projects, 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
Success in college requires good advising, personal counseling, help with choosing a career, tutoring, and friendly services. But right now, CSUN does not have funds to meet the ever-increasing demand for these important services that 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.
Nearly 75% of students questioned recently about CSUN athletics wanted CSUN to be more competitive. Unfortunately, we often compete against others who have better resources and CSUN student athletes are at a disadvantage when compared to most of their peers. In fact, some CSUN teams have had to set up before they practice, purchase their own equipment, and stay with family or friends when away competing because funds are not available to pay for hotel rooms.
CSUN student athletes are dedicated to their sport and to representing CSUN to the best of their ability. However, 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 Campus Quality Fee and phase in a $100 per semester over three years to provide the resources to meet the needs identified above. The proposed fee schedule is as follows:
- Fiscal year 2008/09 $25 increase per semester, to a total of $50
- Fiscal year 2009/10 $15 increase per semester, to a total of $80
- Fiscal year 2010/11 $10 increase per semester, to a total of $100
To accommodate inflation and provide operational stability, beginning in 2011/12, we will be increasing the fee by $2/year with the resulting 60% calculation applied to summer term (Table 1).
The approximate fee use percentage by year three:
Advancements in Technology - 27%
Instructionally Related Activities*
Student support services - 14%
Student allocation - 3%
Campus spirit/Athletics - 14%
Athletic scholarships - 22%
Athletic equipment & facilities - 6%
*as noted in a footnote within the Monetary Impact Analysis Statement (Table 2), IRA Fund will receive $1,000,000 from Associated Students when AS no longer has to fund Athletic scholarships.
Accountability of this fee will be subject to Executive Order from Chancellor's Office regarding student fees.
Table 1. PROPOSED FEE SCHEDULE
for the Campus Quality Fee
|Academic Year||Projected Headcount: Fall/Spring||Projected Headcount: Summer||Proposed Summer||Proposed Fall||Proposed Spring|
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
|2008-09 Projected||2009-10 Projected||2010-11 Projected||2011-12* Projected||2012-13* Projected|
|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
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 fee increase may be a financial burden that some students 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 offset 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 in which other students disapprove.
- Students only control a small proportion of the fee.
- Many students will not directly benefit from the fee increase.
Why aren't we getting a chance to vote on the fee proposal?
Two methods are permitted for consideration of a new fee. One is to conduct a referendum; the other is called alternative consultation. Alternative consultation seeks input from the entire campus community. Recent referenda have resulted in very low voter turn-out and, therefore, very little input to the fee decision-making process. The importance of the proposed fee necessitates greater participation than would be expected from a referendum process.
Why does the university need a new campus fee?
To put it simply, CSUN needs resources for academic and student services. The current way of funding course materials, instructionally related activities, technology, athletics, and services such as personal and career counseling, to name a few, has not kept pace with increasing costs and utilization. In order to provide quality experiences for students we need to increase funding.
How exactly will the fee be used?
100% of the fee will be used for direct benefit to students.
First, we will use a portion of the funds to eliminate course-specific fees and cover the difference between what students pay and the real cost of labs, materials and supplies. This will allow the academic departments to use money previously used for labs, materials, and supplies to offer more academic course sections.
Second, we will provide more funds for allocation by the Instructionally Related Activities Board. The IRA Board is a student run committee that decides how much money goes to activities such as Model United Nations, student music performance groups, various journalism and literature projects, and about 90 other opportunities for practicing what is learned in the classroom. Currently funded activities may receive additional funding and activities not funded currently may now receive funding.
Third, we will target opportunities to expand classroom technology (to be mutually beneficial to students and faculty), to sustain and enhance technology and capacity of student labs, to keep up the pace of network - wired and wireless connectivity, to work with the Library to enhance academic resources available in digital form, and to expand technology support for students.
Fourth, we will make improvements in athletic facilities and equipment. We will support student athletes through scholarships, travel expenses, and academic support.
Fifth, we will strive to increase access to academic and personal support services, eliminate the need for user-fees, improve service delivery through technology, improve campus transportation, and update and improve program and activity equipment, resources, and opportunities.
Sixth, we will form a student committee that will be responsible for allocating the $250,000 fund to address needs that students identify as important for improving the quality of their university experience.
Can financial aid cover the fee increase?
Yes, the fee increase will be added to the cost of attendance. Financial aid is based upon the total cost of attendance.
Why are fees always going up?
The instructionally related fee has not been raised in 30 years. Most course-specific fees have not been increased in at least 10 years. The athletic fee hasnot been increased since 1995. The most recent campus fee increase was to fund the new recreation center.
Why are you proposing to reallocate the AS Athletic Fees?
We want to create greater stability and predictability in funding of student athlete scholarships. Fluctuation in the allocation of funds from the AS Athletic Fee toward student athlete scholarships has resulted in reduced scholarships. The university is required by athletic conference rules to maintain a certain level of scholarships. Using a portion of the funds from the proposed fee to replace the AS Athletic Fees fee will allow those fees to be used for other very important needs within and outside Associated Students.
What will happen if the decision is not to approve the new fee?
We will do what we can to maintain a quality experience for students. However, with time it is inevitable that you will see a decline in the quality of your experience.
The CSU policy on Student Fees allows the university president to use a process known as alternative consultation when the president determines that a fee referendum is not the best mechanism for seeking consultation on a new fee or fee increase. President Koester has chosen to utilize alternative consultation for the Campus Quality Fee proposal because she wishes to receive input that is more representative of the breadth of the campus community than has been represented in recent referendums at CSUN. Therefore, the following alternative consultation methods have been selected.
- A survey of undergraduates was conducted from March 13-19.
- Forums* will be help with the following groups.
- Associated Students Board of Directors with the University Student Union Board of Directors
- Presidents or representatives from chartered student clubs and organizations
- Student engaged in instructionally related activities
- Educational Opportunities Program participants
- Two open forums for the general student body
- One open forum for faculty and staff
- Provost's Council and Council of Department Chairs
*Details related to the forums can be found in the Daily Sundial and atwww.csun.edu/studentaffairs/campusqualityfee/schedule/.
- The fee proposal will be present and feedback collected throughwww.csun.edu/studentaffairs/campusqualityfee/.