MSFAC reviews current, new fees

The Mandatory Student Fee Activity Committee (MSFAC) is currently undergoing proposals for possible raises in student fees, mainly for health and athletics, for the next academic school year.

MSFAC is a committee made up of eight student representatives from SGA and four faculty members from various administrative departments across Tech, as well as a “support to committee” member. The group meets to discuss creating, increasing or changing the fees that students pay for certain services.

Fee areas include student activity, athletic, technology, transportation and health fees. The decisions are made upon assessments of the next fiscal year, and are still ongoing but not yet finalized for the 2013-2014 year.

“Since the start of this academic year, we have seen a 17 percent increase in patient visits at Stamps. Since we are running at capacity, we have had student complaints regarding the availability of appointments,” said Dr. Gregory Moore, the Senior Director of Health Services.

Stamps Health Services, who was denied a $6 increase last summer, is an auxiliary service at Tech, meaning that the clinic is entirely self funded and relies on the student health fees to cover its expenses.

“Therefore, when costs for everything from electricity to medical instruments to salaries go up, we have to find the money to pay for it in our budget funded primarily through the student health fee,” Moore said.

A proposal is currently going through MSFAC for an increase in the health fee. According to Moore, the campus auxiliary units try to clearly measure the costs and benefits of fee raises, keeping in mind the stress added costs can have on students as well.

To be considered for fee changes, departments of the respective fee areas prepare their programs and expected budgets, which are then sent to the MSFAC for recommendations.

“It was much more difficult for the department to point directly at one ‘pressure point’ on their books, but increased ticket prices, decreased student benefits (such as courtside seating) or increasing the fee will be necessary to stay very competitive to our peer institutions’ programs,” said undergraduate SGA president Eran Mordel.

Surveys and meetings are then held to get the opinion of the student body. This is usually done through social media like Twitter and Facebook, news articles and reaching out to SGA representatives, all of which provide a varied level of student involvement in the process.

“The students, including us, use their best judgment to come to a consensus about where the student body feels about fees -we talk among our executive board, solicit feedback from other student leaders, and get a gauge of student opinions in the interim between our Fall and Spring meetings,” said Eran Mordel, Undergraduate Student Body President.

According to Mordel, the main difference between seeing the issue from a student’s perspective, versus that of an SGA member’s, was the added responsibility of having to reach out to the student body about the issues.

Once the committee and then Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson approve the fees changes, it must go through policies set by the Board of Regents.

As an institution, Tech also has to provide detailed information to back up the reasons for needing the change and demonstration that the student body was represented and engaged in the process, which serves as a positive factor for the Board to accept the fees.

Detailed descriptions of each fee can be found on the website for the MSFAC.