Image by Florida International University via Flickr
FIUSM Editorial Board
When we pick our classes for next semester, there are usually additional fees you’ll notice added to our tuition that may have nothing to do with the classes themselves. So, where exactly does all this extra money go? This age old question has followed every college student since the beginning of educational institutions and has continued to be the central conflict between the student body and the administration on any campus. Even Florida International University is no stranger when it comes to controversy surrounding student fees. There’s the parking fee and health fee, for example, that are seen as a necessity for the University to operate to it’s best capacity to accommodate everyone even though there are disagreements with the amount charged or lack of use by the students themselves. One addition to our tuition that has never been addressed are our Activity and Services fee which currently stands at $12.87 per student credit hour. This fee in particular covers expenses of extracurricular agencies like Homecoming, the Black Student Union and the Council for Student Organizations. It also covers operating costs of important facilities on campus such as Career Services and the Recreation Center. The budget itself is first divided by the Student Government Association to these bigger councils who then hold meetings or budget hearings to decide who ultimately gets a bigger or smaller percentage of the budget on a yearly basis.
The budget could not be found online but it was made available to anyone who came in person to their office with the updated amounts for this year. According to the summary, the grand total estimated revenue coming from the A&S fees is $16,380,156, which includes an additional 2 and 1 million to the Modesto Maidique Campus and Biscayne Bay Campus respectively. Huge dollar amounts will raise doubts but SGA and the administration have been transparent as shown by the detailed breakdown of the projected amounts given to these different organizations. These numbers, however, have a possibility of fluctuating due to the three year cycling of increases awarded to different departments of the University. This year, if Activities and Services chooses to do so, there could be a possible five percent increase to the fee making a small jump to $14.85 per credit hour. This is where concerns start to arise but, unlike other increases in the past, this could possibly fix many problems the student body faces and bring additional unforeseen benefits effective in our immediate future.
The increase itself would generate an additional $1,869,192 that would go toward funding programs that are in danger of being cut, help grow the Career Services department in order to provide more internships for more students and finally begins the expansion of our own recreation center. These are all improvements in our eyes and serves as a major push from the administration to make quality of life here at FIU more worlds ahead. There is dissent from the Governor to these increases but no real reasoning behind it other than maintaining his political capital and using financial burden as an excuse. Ultimately, we have to maintain our trust with our SGA and Student Affairs administration and support the increase we want to have any hope of being able to support our enormous student body. Being the No. 4 largest university in the nation definitely has it perks but it requires a little sacrifice in order to see it grow.