Students don’t have a lot of say in how much they pay for school.
There is, however, one area where students can feel their opinions carry a little weight.
Every year, USU students elect a handful of their peers to serve as members of the Utah State University Student Association. Those same peers select a handful of other peers to serve alongside them on the Utah State University Fee Board (USFB).
That’s right — all those nice, smiling faces in blue polo shirts have a considerable amount of say in whether student fees increase from year to year.
So, what do you need to know?
The who’s who of the USU Fee Board:
The USFB is comprised of six members of the Utah State University Student Association (USUSA) executive council, the entire academic senate, seven appointed students at large from the general student body and Vice President for Student Services James Morales. In total, there are 23 voting members on the USFB.
What do they do?
Before any of the fee board meetings happen, organizations submit requests for a fee increase to the Executive Vice President. The requests are then reviewed and receive comments from the Executive Committee of the University. Once this has happened, the committee gives a list of fee proposals that will be heard in the USFB’s meetings.
Who’s proposing fee increases to the USFB this year?
This year’s fee board will hear five proposals. Four of the proposals are from organizations requesting to increase an existing fee.
The organizations requesting a fee increase are the Student Health and Wellness Center, Parking and Transportation Services, the Merrill-Cazier Library and the university athletics department.
The fifth organization is the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Unlike the organizations requesting a fee increase, they are asking that a fee be created to help support their operations.
This year, the Health and Wellness Center is requesting to add $2.25 to the existing fee; Parking and Transportation Services is requesting a 33-cent increase to its fee; the Merrill-Cazier Library is requesting a $6 fee increase; the university athletics department is requesting a $7 fee increase; lastly, CAPS is requesting that the creation of a $3.50 fee be brought before the entire student body during the Spring elections.
Students taking 12-18 credits per semester currently pay:
- $44.17 for the Health and Wellness Center
- $20.92 for the Aggie Shuttle
- $27.67 for Merrill-Cazier Library services
- $135.14 for the university athletics department
What happens after the USFB votes?
The USFB meetings are just the beginning of a long road for fee increase proposals.
If the USFB votes to approve a fee increase, the proposal then goes to the university president, Noelle Cockett. If she decides to approve the fee increase, then the proposal goes to the Board of Trustees. If the Board of Trustees also elects to approve the fee increase, the proposal finally lands on the desk of the Board of Regents. If approved by the Board of Regents, the fee increase goes into effect.
The process of creating a fee is a little different than approving an increase. Instead of voting to approve the creation of a fee, the USFB votes to make it a referendum on the university’s spring election ballot. This means if the board votes to approve CAPS’s request to create a fee, the student body will be able to vote on it later this semester.
When does the USFB meet?
The USFB held its initial meeting on Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. It will hold two more meetings on Jan. 18 at 5 p.m., and Feb. 8 at 5 p.m., which will be the final voting meeting.
Where does the USFB meet?
The USFB meets in the senate chambers on the third floor of the Taggart Student Center (TSC) in room 336.
Why does the USFB matter?
“I think Fee Board is a way that the student’s voice can be heard, and can directly influence something that affects every single one of us. Utah State does a fantastic job of giving students ways to express their opinions and have a voice. Fee Board is just one of those many opportunities,” said Ryan Bentall, USUSA’s executive vice president.
Graphic by Theodore Butts