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Monday, October 2, 2023


SGA passes bill to increase student fee cap

CORRECTION: The recommended raising was $270, not $300 as the previous post stated.  The link attached below has been updated, and the statements have been updated with information from the final version of the bill.

The Student Government Association passed a bill to recommend an increase for the FY 15 student fee cap in an SGA meeting held Sept. 17 in the senate chambers.

University Bill 51004, authored by Bauer College of Business Senators Sunil Motwani and Pooja Magadi, recommended raising the student fee cap to $270 from $250. It’s important to note that the bill will not increase student fees, but increased the amount of student fees that the Student Fee Advisory Committee is permitted to levy.

Bauer College of Business Sen. Pooja Magadi discusses UB51004 with the senate. | Justin Tijerna / The CougarSFAC advises the Board of Regents, President and Chancellor Renu Khator and UH System administration concerning the “type, level and expenditure of compulsory fees for student services.”

Speaker of the Senate Shaun Smith said the fees go into student-fee organizations such as The Cougar, SGA, CoogRadio, Student Video Network, Frontier Fiesta and more.

“(We’re working) predominately student affairs because that is the division that handles all the fee-funded organizations, and they’re more privy to how their budgets are leaned or too excessive in certain parts,” Smith said.

For perspective, Texas A&M University’s annual student fees are an estimated $1,300, considerably higher than UH’s annual student fee. In addition, they have various fees billed to the students that often go undetected by the student body.

“In UH, we’ve always been very transparent with our student fees, we’ve always indicated where that money was going every year, and we don’t hide it or bundle it up on PeopleSoft,” Smith said. “We see what fees are given to individual students. A&M and UT, they don’t necessarily do that; they bundle it all together and you can’t see what’s going on unless you dig and research it.”

Some may question the raise in the cap, especially considering UH is currently experiencing its highest enrollment in its history. Magadi said although there are more students, that does not mean the University is getting more money.

“Given the rate at which our university is growing, we need proportional funding to sustain that growth,” Magadi said. “The increase in enrollment doesn’t necessarily translate to excess funds for the university because each student’s fees go back to support that individual. Even though the university is growing, the money that we have to operate with needs to be allowed to increase, if necessary to support the university overall.”

Magadi stressed again that despite the small student fee cap increase, student fees itself have not increased.

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