Chunk of student fees go to repay debts
The Student Fee Review Board held its second round of deliberations Monday night, but the SFRB controls less than half the total fees students pay to attend UNM.
Each undergraduate student pays $1,158 for fiscal year 2012 in student fees, said Andrew Cullen associate vice president of Planning, Budget and Analysis.
Each student pays a $487.50 student activity fee, and this is the money the SFRB allocates to various organizations around campus.
A $114 fee pays for technological services such as the banner system. A $40 graduate allocation fund goes toward organizations such as ethnic centers and the women’s resource center, Cullen said.
The largest chunk of student fee money goes toward UNM facilities. The facilities fee was instituted to repay bond issues dating back to 1992 that went toward the construction of new buildings and renovations of old ones.
The latest bond issue, in 2007, funded projects such as the renovations of Mitchell Hall, the UNM Alumni building and Hodgin Hall, as well as renovations to the chemistry buildings and the engineering chair’s office. The 2007 bond issue funded $27.4 million worth of projects, and the $91.41 million bond issued in 2005 funded projects such as compact shelving in Zimmerman Library and the renovation of the Communication and Journalism building.
The Lottery Scholarship does not pay for student fees, and GPSA President Katie Richardson said the University is becoming increasingly reliant on student fees, which could prevent some students from being able to obtain an education at UNM.
“Fees over time have taken a larger and larger burden in supporting the University,” she said. “Academic buildings on campus should be funded through state appropriations, not student fees.”
ASUNM President Jaymie Roybal said she isn’t sure student fees should be used to pay off old debts.
“I’m not really sure what I think about the facilities fee,” Roybal said.
Cullen said his office has not needed to raise student fees to pay for the 2007 bond issue because UNM saw a surge in enrollment and therefore more student fees have been rolling in. However, he said he didn’t have data of past breakdowns of student fees available when this reporter spoke to him around 6 p.m. Monday night.
“We’ve been really, really prudent in spending these dollars,” he said. “We’ve really been milking it for all it’s worth.”