Lane is enacting a new policy to determine where the allotted student fees are used. This change is a result of a lawsuit filed August 2015, which The Torch reported on in January 2016. Organizations which receive funds from student fees now must present a budget proposal to the Student Activity Fee Committee.
“The new student fee system is based on transparency and accountability” Tracy Weimer, Student Life and Leadership administrative specialist, said.
Lane Community College welcomed 9,484 credit students in the fall term of 2015. Collectively full-time students paid Lane Community College approximately $531,104 in student activity fees.
Every full-time student is charged a $56 student activity fee. This money is used to fund student activities and services throughout the campus. Student activity fees are used for a variety of groups, organizations and student resources offered on campus.
This year, the Board of Education enacted a new policy to be used in association with student fees at Lane. Board Policy 715 is a call to action for Lane’s president. With a deadline of Oct. 30 each year, Lane’s president will be responsible to form a Student Activity Fee Committee. The voting committee will consist of elected members of the student body, as well as appointed members of student groups and organizations. The committee will oversee and vote on fees and allocations throughout the year.
The new system will promote a more diverse group of individuals involved with student activity fees. This will separate decisions made about activity fees from the student government, in favor of a dedicated group of student representatives.
“One of the benefits of the new system is it requires each student organization or program funded to articulate how the funds contribute to improving the student experience which may not be available in traditional classrooms,” Christina Walsh, Dean of Student Life & Leadership, said.
Members of the SAFC are about to attend their first training session on the new system implemented at Lane.
“Everyone will be learning and sorting out details. As with all first year systems, challenges do come up,” Walsh said. “The new system puts Lane in line with standard practice around the country. This is a model commonly found in higher education.”
In order for any organization or group to receive funding through the SAFC, they are required to present a complete budgeting account from previous years, and a projection for the next budget cycle. Federal policies enforce what fees can and cannot be spent on.
Student activity fees would only decrease in the event of “a group or organization presents their budget, and does not use all the allocated funds. Then it will go to the board (Lane’s Board of Education). The board would then rule if the group’s portion of the activity fee should be adjusted for the next school year,” Weimer said.
Lane students do have concerns over the student activity fee increasing for the next school year. Mike Jones, Oregon Student Association representative said he only foresees fees increasing depending on student groups or organizations requesting additional funds during the school year to accommodate projects, or campaigns to promote member growth.
“Student fees are an integral part of any well-functioning student body in order for a college to allow students a pathway to explore new interests or activities and be able to contribute to the marketplace of ideas,” Jones said.
For more information on the student activity fees charged to tuition accounts each term, visit Lane’s homepage (lanecc.edu) and search for “student fees” in the upper right field.