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Volume 69, Issue 138, Wednesday, April 28, 2004

News
 

Student Service Fee will be increased

Gouge approves an $8-per-semester fee increase, keeps Athletics Department's 35 percent share

Cougar News Staff

UH President Jay Gogue approved an $8-per-semester increase in the Student Service Fee for the coming academic year, but rejected the Student Fees Advisory Committee's recommendation to hold the Athletics Department's share of student fees to a fixed amount.

Gogue's comments were in response to a March 5 report from the SFAC in which the committee recommended how to divide the more than $11.5 million in Student Service Fee revenue among various fee-funded groups.

The Student Service Fee will increase to $150 per semester this fall. In its report, the SFAC said it understands various financial pressures students face, but called the increase "necessary in order to continue quality service to the University of Houston student body, provided by student fee funded units."

Gogue responded that he understood those concerns, but agreed that the increase is necessary.

The Athletics Department has received 35 percent of the Student Service Fee money since 1988 under an agreement between administrators and students that capped any single group's share at that percentage. Although there has never been a mandate that Athletics receive the full 35 percent, it has gotten that amount each year.

This year, SFAC elected to keep the funding for all fee-funded groups -- including Athletics -- at the base levels approved for fiscal year 2004. That means Athletics would receive $3.19 million rather than 35 percent of the fee money. The committee also asked to be involved in discussions when the 35 percent cap comes up for renewal this summer.

"There is no objection to SFAC, as well as the Student Government Association, participating in a dialogue on any future agreement," Gogue wrote. "It is premature, however, to change the long-standing practice before there have been discussions with the Student Government Association about the future of this agreement."

Athletics will receive 35 percent of the total collected from Student Service Fees after money designated for the Health Center, expected to be about $1.6 million, is deducted. The exact amount isn't known -- it will depend on enrollment in the fall and spring.

Gogue also noted that the SFAC based its revenue estimates on a "conservative" enrollment projection of 34,500. If enrollment exceeds that, Gogue suggested the committee consider some of the one-time proposals it declined, including a request from the Forensic Society that would help the group attend and host debate competitions.

"A reliable source of travel and operating funds if essential to hosting and competing in events," Gogue wrote.

The SFAC, which is made up of students appointed by the SGA, the University president and faculty appointed by the president, meets every year to hear requests for base and one-time allocations from the fee-funded groups. The president then approves or modifies its recommendations.
 

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