SGA freezes student activity fee

by Mariah Young

During the Jan. 25 meeting of the Student Government Association (SGA) members voted to freeze the group’s budget as proposed by Jim Thorius, vice president for planning and student development and dean of students.

In order to keep overall costs to students as low as possible, the activities fee that every student pays in his or her tuition will remain at $290 for the 2012-2013 academic year.

“I believe this was the right thing for SGA to do,” said Joe Sorenson, senior and student body president. “We are doing our part to help make Simpson as affordable as possible for students, but still not compromising students’ experiences at Simpson.”

In previous years the student activity fee grew as the cost of tuition grew. If tuition increased by two percent, then the fee would increase at the same rate.

While SGA has voted to freeze this fee with no increase and keep it at this year’s rate, they do not believe that this freeze in funds will adversely impact their duties.

“It will not have any affect on SGA or any student organizations,” said Andrew Dexter, sophomore and student body treasurer. “The student activity fee as it stands is more than adequate to fund all groups for next year.”

By keeping tuition costs as low as possible, the hopes are that Simpson College will become more appealing to potential students.

“We understand every year as a student you have to write a check obviously for dollars and cents,” Thorius said. “This is another aspect for students looking at which college to go to. The more we can maintain costs, hopefully the more it allows students to attend Simpson College.”

Freezing the student activities fee does not mean that the student activities budget, which SGA uses to fund student groups and activities, will remain the same.

Each year, the budget depends on the number of full time students attending Simpson.

“This year each student paid $290 for the fee; this will be the same fee next year,” Sorenson said. “So you would take $290 times the number of full time students, and that is SGA’s budget for the year.”

If keeping tuition costs low does increase student enrollment, then SGA’s budget could potentially increase as well.

“Now since we are not increasing our fee for next year, then if we have the same number of students our budget will remain the same, which was enough to fund all the groups,” Sorenson said. “Hopefully enrollment increases next year, so our budget will increase with more students.”

Administration is aiming to keep next year’s tuition increase at less than four percent, and this, in combination with other efforts, is one way to do so.

When the freezing of the funds was proposed to SGA there was opposition. However, Thorius has yet to receive any negative comments from students.

“I haven’t received any feedback at all from any students at all since it went through the Student Government Association,” Thorius said. “We will meet with the trustees to discuss the tuition and these fees for the upcoming year as well.”

As far as future years are concerned, the SGA has not made any decisions, and this freeze will only be in effect for the 2012-2013 school year.

Sorenson does not foresee the administration approaching SGA to take this action again for the next year. If they did feel it beneficial to freeze the student activity fees then they would have to get it reapproved.