Health services recommended for extra funds

Student Health Services (SHS) and the Counseling Center may receive a large portion of the student fee increase next year if President Judy Genshaft follows the advisory committee’s recommendation.

The seven-member committee, formed to advise Genshaft on the size and distribution of a student fee increase, suggested increasing student fees by the maximum amount of $1.47 per credit hour. This increase is divided among the Activity and Service (A&S) Fee, Athletic Fee and Student Health Fee. The committee recommended the Student Health Fee increase by 69 cents, the A&S Fee increase by 52 cents and the Athletic Fee increase by 26 cents.

This recommendation contrasts last year’s decision, which left SHS and the Counseling Center — the sole beneficiaries of the Student Health fee — without an increase.

“All three (areas) need resources to continue to work for the benefit of this campus,” said Bill Young, an education professor and member of the committee. “Health Services probably has the greatest need because last year we snubbed them.”

Students are charged per-credit-hour fees for each division, and additional flat fees for both Athletics and A&S.

The proposed fee increase would add an additional $22.05 per student for a 15-credit-hour semester.

The administration estimates the $1.47 increase will generate an additional $1,312,356 next school year.

Last year, a similar committee recommended no increase for Student Health while it advised a 98-cent increase for Athletics. Committee members wanted to avoid a similar situation this year.

“What’s more important?” said Thomas King, student body vice president and committee member. “Health? Or having a good time at a football game?”

King proposed the 69-cent increase for the Student Health Fee, which was the entire amount requested by Harold Bower, SHS director of Business and Operations.

SHS and the Counseling Center are short-staffed and in need of additional funding, Bower said. Most of their funding comes from student fees. When SHS begins accepting all major health insurance providers at the end of October, they should bring in more outside funding, he said.

“When we come here next year, our financial situation will look different and there will be less of a need,” Bower said.

The committee recommended that the Athletics Fee increase 26 cents, a fraction of the 94 cents requested by Brett Huebner, associate Athletics director and CFO.

The A&S Fee, which funds Student Government, the Marshall Student Center and other student organizations, was recommended to climb by 52 cents, less than half of the $1.13 requested by Eric Reiter, SG’s manager of business and finance.

Reiter’s proposal included increases for additional security in the Marshall Student Center and more nighttime programming and entertainment for students.

SG was the only beneficiary of student fees that had voting members on the recommendation committee. All three student representatives on the committee — King, Senate President Juan Carlos Soltero and Frank Malatesta, director of Communication and Governmental Affairs — are members of SG.

“If we have a random student, they aren’t knowledgeable enough in A&S funding, in Athletic funding,” Soltero said. “There could be somebody in my position in the future that would be biased. Personally, I don’t think I have a conflict of interest.”

Huebner said he didn’t have a problem with SG members making up nearly half of the committee.

“They should be making decisions for the student body,” he said.

The committee’s decision for recommendation will be submitted to Genshaft, who will review it with Student Body President Gregory Morgan, said Committee Chairwoman Joann Strobbe. Genshaft will then submit her final recommendation to the Board of Trustees, which will decide the final allocation of fee increases by Oct. 11.