MSFAC releases health, transport fee increases

[media-credit name=”Infographic by Ian Bailiee” align=”aligncenter” width=”711″][/media-credit]The Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee (MSFAC) met on Thursday, Jan. 26, to discuss proposed increases to Tech’s mandatory student fees for the 2013 fiscal year. It discussed proposed changes to the athletic, transportation and health fees, ultimately deciding to recommend to change the transportation fee from $76 to $81 per semester and the health fee from $154 to $160. The committee will give its recommendations to Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who will, in turn, recommend fee changes to the Board of Regents.

“The deliberations are based on thorough reviews of the budgets submitted, especially the explanations of how the dollars are linked to the services,” said Jim Kirk, Director of the Tech Office of Institute Budget Planning & Administration and co-chair of the committee. “One of the key questions that we always ask is, ‘what would be the impact on services to students if the requested increase is not approved?’”

The committee’s goal was to strike a balance between providing exceptional services to Tech students and keeping the cost of school affordable.

“Because of the significant financial burden that Tech students have recently incurred through the Special Institutional Fee — a $544 per semester fee issued by the USG Board of Regents that is not covered by HOPE — we examined all fee requests with great scrutiny,” said Elle Creel, Undergraduate Student Body President.

One proposed increase in particular — the $5 requested by the Athletic Association (GTAA) — did not receive approval from MSFAC. In general, the current athletic fee of $127 per semester helps the AA organize sporting events, subsidize student ticket prices and fund student transportation to those events. Athletic Director Dan Radakovich said that the AA would ask for bigger fee increases in future years if they did not get the $5 per semester increase this year. The committee decided by a vote of 9-2-1 to recommend no increase in the athletic fee.

“The majority of the committee felt that the Athletic Association didn’t adequately justify the fee increase,” said Charley Crosson, co-chair of the committee and Undergraduate Vice President of Finance.

MSFAC looks to tie fee increases directly to actual services, according to Crosson. In the case of the athletic fee, the GTAA could not identify exactly what the increases would be used for.

Parking and Transportation asked for a small transportation fee increase to maintain its current level of bus service. The committee elected to increase the fee by a total of $5 in order to increase the number of Midnight Ramblers in service, with several members citing campus safety as a reason for doing so.

“We’ve had a lot of positive student feedback about the Midnight Rambler,” Crosson said. “We thought it was important to continue increasing late-night travel options, especially in light of recent safety concerns.”

The committee will recommend a $6 increase in the student health fee, amended down from the requested amount of $9. Student Health Services had hoped to use the additional $3 to fund salary increases.