ArticlePage address: https://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/news/html/sacrec.html
Activity Fee Budget Recommendations: Justified, Fair and Consistent
Making decisions on $4 Million dollars of student activity fees is not an easy or simple process for the Minnesota State Student Association. Here is a brief description of the process in sequence:
1. Student Activity Funded Groups (line items) propose a request for their next year's operating budget. These requests are compiled and submitted to the MSSA's Student Allocations Committee (SAC).
2. SAC then schedules each line item to meet and give a presentation about their budget request. This gives SAC an opportunity to listen to rationale and ask questions about goals, objectives, and budget numbers.
3. At the conclusion of the individual meetings, SAC sits down and makes recommendations on the proposed line item budget requests and includes rationale for their decision. These recommendations are then sent to the MSSA Senate for final decisions.
4. The MSSA budget hearing provides a final opportunity for line items to appeal the SAC budget recommendation in the interest of receiving more funds. SAC is also given an opportunity to defend its recommendation. Both of these events take place in the budget hearing. The senate then makes its final recommendation.
In addition to this, the MSSA held mid-year line item presentations to learn more about services provided and how budget dollars were being spent. This served as an opportunity for student senators to get educated about the line items and for the line items to justify their programming and budget.
I'll also take the opportunity to remind everybody of what the MSSA did to gather student attitudes and opinions about tuition and fees. Student surveys conducted are available at www.mnsu.edu in the lower right hand corner of the web page. You can also view an enlarged survey in CSU 280.
- Survey in September highlighting the focus of student government for the year (2000+ responses)
- Survey in February specifically asking for information on how funding should be spent (1800+ responses)
- Open Forum strictly on tuition and fees in February
In case you haven't heard, MSU enrollment is going to decrease next year. This means that the amount of student fees collected from enrolled students will be less than this year. The budget requests projected an increase of $371,000 not to mention $48,000 for inflation. Let me break it down even more: less revenue coming in + more fee increases = more money out of student pockets.
In light of MSU's projected enrollment, SAC proposed a budget that minimizes student fee increases to less than 2% while being fair to all groups. No new programming dollars were allocated to any line items. Allocation to other areas was done through re-allocation of current resources.
The MSSA approved the SAC recommendations as a whole. I hope that you all consider what kind of message the MSSA would have been sending by doing the contrary. Imagine lobbying the state legislature, Minnesota State, and our own administration for tuition decreases and then hypocritically increasing our own student fees- not exactly a step towards legitimacy.
Rest assured that many line items which did not receive its full funding request will be quick to claim that funding is absolutely necessary and justified. I would hope that they claim this -otherwise it shouldn't be funded whatsoever. Unlike the line items appealing the senate for fee increases, student government does not have the luxury of making decisions from one perspective alone. The activity funding recommendations are no coincidence and they provide tangible evidence that the MSSA fights for the collective best interests of all MSU students.
Gabe Afolayan, President, MSSA