The Student Fees Advisory Committee recommended a student fee increase of more than 10 percent for the first time in the University’s history Monday, which would raise the fee to $240 from $190 beginning in the Fall 2012 semester.
The $50 per semester increase would consist of a $5 hike to offset decreased state funding, an increase in facility maintenance costs due to consolidation and the increased enrollment and participation within the organizations that use student fees.
The additional $45 fee, which has the potential to last for up to 25 years, would go to the Athletics Department to pay for the construction, maintenance and operation of its facilities.
“(The fees will) go toward the building of the new football facilities and renovation of the basketball facilities,” said SFAC Chair John Evans, who was appointed by the Student Government Association. “It is my understanding through SFAC this (fee) will be going to the construction of future stadiums and renovations.”
The fee has several steps to take before it is enacted because it exceeds the 10 percent of student fees SFAC is allowed to recommend without approval.
“The increase is not effective unless approved by a majority vote of the students voting in an election called for that purpose — that is, to increase it over 10 percent — or by a majority vote of the duly elected student government,” said Associate Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students William Munson, who serves as a non-voting advisor for the committee.
SFAC has advised that SGA votes to send it to a student referendum.
The SGA will vote on whether or not to let students vote on the fee increase in its Nov. 30 meeting, according to SGA President Michael Harding.
If the fee increase is approved by either the SGA or a student vote, it will be sent to President Renu Khator and Vice President for Student Affairs Richard Walker for approval, and lastly given to the Board of Regents for a final vote, according to Munson.
Evans said the Athletics Department agreed to not come back to SFAC asking for funds to build or renovate facilities if this fee is approved because the increase should cover all facility costs.
“As far as our agreement, which is word of mouth, they will not come back because we have so graciously recommended this increase,” Evans said.
The new fee would increase the student funds the Athletics Department receives by a projected $3.4 million next fiscal year, which us based off of a student population of 37,500, to $7.8 million from this fiscal year’s allocation of $4.4 million.
UH Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades could not be reached for comment.