News and Analysis

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 9:25 a.m.

Fee hike would boost SA budget to $1.75 million, cost about $90 per student within decade

Student Association Finance Committee Chair Alex Mizenko and Vice Chair Ryan Counihan take a moment to reflect on senators’ debate about a bill to increase the student fee to $3 at the senate meeting Monday.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Chris Hebdon.

Students will vote on a fee hike next month that would double student organizations’ budget pool over the next nine years to about $1.75 million.

Student Association senators voted Monday on the fee proposal, which could eventually add up to $90 to students’ annual tuition bills.

If the fee passes next month’s student referendum, it would increase from $1.50 to $3 per credit hour, plus the 50-cent match from GW, with steady increases each year until 2018.

The added charges for full-time students would inflate the SA budget to $1.75 million. The SA had a $945,000 budget this year.

Only incoming students would be charged the higher fees because of the University 10-semester fixed tuition rate policy.

Facing what the finance committee has called a massive budget crunch, Mizenko began lobbying for a fee increase last month. This bill would add about $250,000 more than an idea floated by Mizenko last month.

He said the current fee does not bring in enough money to cover GW’s more than 500 student organizations’ budget needs.

“We only have one shot at this for next year,” Mizenko said. “If we don’t have more revenue next year, we’re screwed.”

Mizenko, who co-authored the bill, said the fee would still be lower than GW’s peer institutions like Columbia and Georgetown universities, which charge $95 and $150 annual fees, respectively.

The bill also drew two amendments and roughly 30 minutes of heated debate during the longest SA Senate meeting in recent memory. At the group’s last meeting – when allocations for student organizations were approved – senators faced flak for engaging in little debate on what Center for Student Engagement Director Tim Miller called the SA’s most important meeting of the year.

SA President Ashwin Narla urged senators to vote yes on the bill, because, “We need something we can give the Board of Trustees” in return for helping out student organizations.

“We have a lot of student organizations trying to do things, but the money isn’t there,” he added.

If the referendum passes next month, it could factor into the Board of Trustees’ decisions when setting tuition in January.

The last fee hike passed in 2008, which raised the fee by 50 cents, and was grandfathered in over five years. Last year was the first the SA did not see a boost in its budget pool.

The bill passed with two students opposed and one abstaining. Senators spent more than an hour hashing out concerns an increase to $3 would not be sufficient.

Vice Chair of the Finance Committee Ryan Counihan closed the debate and said while he wanted to be “aggressive,” future SA leaders could push another policy down the road if needed.

“This allows future administrations to make a referendum if they think what we have done isn’t enough,” Counihan said.

This post was updated Oct. 16 to reflect the following:

Due to an editing error, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the Student Association passed a bill last month proposing a fee increase. In fact, the organization’s leadership floated the idea, but did not bring it to the senate floor. The Hatchet also incorrectly reported that the bill passed with no opposition. Two senators voted against the bill. 

  • GW Student

    increase fees…because we don’t get charged enough already. this is utter bull crap. GW has more than enough money to give to the SA without charging students more. Let’s take some of Knapp’s salary and use THAT, huh?

  • Student

    As an active member of a student organization, I support it.

  • Joe

    Increase it to 200 a student! we could do so much more programming!

  • OrlyTaitz

    This Alex guy seems like a real tool. Why? Because wrote his own Wikipedia page. LOL!

  • Shashwat Gautam

    There were 2 Nays on this bill: Senator autam and Senator Shetron. A hike in SA fees without any strategic plan for future allocations will not only be catastrophic but it will also create a systemic inefficiency.

  • Student Org Leader

    Everyone at GW should support this. Many student orgs, including mine, don’t get the money that they need from the SA. This does not impact current students tuition so why not support it? This is a long-term plan.

  • Student Org Treasurer

    45 dollars more a year is nothing, and if it means the SA budget goes way up, I’m all for it.

  • Publius
  • OrlyTaitz

    Why don’t you folks panhandle outside of the Foggy Bottom metro station?

  • Another Student

    Why can’t we just do $150 flat like Georgetown?

  • GWStudent

    “This does not impact current students tuition so why not support it? ”

    Yeah! Screw the future classes.

  • James

    Also – the amended bill will raise the fee over a six year period (a 25 cent increase every year), not nine as originally proposed.

  • BusinessSchoolAlumni

    How dare you sit here are say $45 is nothing. Let me remind you all that NOT everyone is a part of the student association. It is pathetic and outrageous that the student association would sit here and even think twice to raise tuition when more and more students can’t even pay for their classes. Every year student financial aid goes up and now the student association wants to raise tuition so they can have a biggest budget. Why do they need more money? They are not the federal government, they are not a fortune 500 company. I am ashamed of my former school for even thinking about raising tuition. All I know is that I will NOT be donating any money if this passes. These students are living in a fantasy world when they think the students should take the out more loans or ask their parents to shed more money when they are struggling. You want the university to give you more money and then ask the student body to pitch in when some students are barely getting any financial aid from the school. These students are so out of touch with reality and think they have the authority to speak for the majority of the student body who are not a part of the student association. It seems to me the student association are taking advantage of the student body. Although I have always said the SA is not like Congress, but in fact they are actually acting like them now.

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