Less than one week from the start date of the Associated Students of Lane Community College general election, student leaders are hoping that the largest line item burdening their budget can be funded by an increase in student fees.
Students will be voting on an $4 increase to the student activity fee to fund legal services, which is currently paid for out of the student government budget.
The student activity fee funds various student activities on campus, including ASLCC, clubs, athletics, advocacy groups and The Torch. Students taking at least one credit pay $50.30 per term into the student activity fee fund. The student government receives $7.44 per term from the fee.
Approximately 44 percent of the student government’s projected budget for this year is predesignated for legal services. The retainer for one attorney is $80,000 per year, while his legal secretary earns $19,658 in salary from ASLCC funds in addition to $15,000 in benefits.
Although student activity fee revenue has decreased for the student school year, legal services expenses remained the same.
The student government’s operational budget for the current school year, is projected to be approximately $258,000, based on estimations on enrollment. The group’s revenue could potentially end up being less originally projected.
The actual enrollment total for spring term for the school year won’t be finalized until the college’s budget officers present it to the Board of Education April 28.
Fewer students attending class, or less attending class inperson, correlates to a decrease in student activity fee revenue — although not as closely or as directly as tuition revenue does.
Some students are simply cutting their course loads as a means to cut costs, according to student government treasurer Zach Wais.
During a discussion concerning a funds request during the April 10 Senate meeting, Wais said he was hoping to take the $80,000 line item out of the student government’s budget, but he wasn’t sure if it would happen.
“I think it would have a better chance a passing if it was lower,” Wais said, adding that the $4 increase is the largest fee increase students have seen.
“It’s one of those things that we’ve been volunteering to pay for years now,” he said, referring to the costs of providing an attorney for students.
Wais said the attorney is a necessary cost, but with declining enrollment, he said it will become more difficult for the student government to maintain the services it provides to students.
“It will actually be savings,” Wais said of the potential $115,000 in freed overhead. “It won’t just be spent.”