By: Victor Jorges & Gerard Albert III/ PantherNOW Staff
The Activities and Service fee is collected from every student, but many are unaware of where their money goes and want more transparency from the University.
The A&S fee students pay is based on credit hours and varies per student. Currently the fee is $14.85 per credit hour or $222.75 for a student taking 5 classes. The total amount allocated by the Student Government Association in the Activities and Service fee budget’s total revenue is $20,188,930.
That money is split between both campuses, with 80 percent going to MMC and 20 percent going to Biscayne Bay, which is a 6 percent decrease from previous years. There are also university-wide allocations for non-campus specific activities like homecoming and services like the room rentals for Graham Center and Wolfe University Center.
The fee also is used to fund clubs and student organizations, including Student Media, Black Student Union and Panther Camp. It is also used to fund student government officials payroll and operating costs.
Isabel Sosa is a junior Hospitality Management major who feels the destination of the money is unclear.
“I feel as if the financials portal doesn’t really explain where the money we’re paying is going, I logged on and I can’t even see an ‘Activity and Service fee’ but I see the Athletic and Transportation fees. I feel like I don’t know where the money is going, but I know they’re using it for something,” said Sosa.
The SGA allocation can be viewed on both the website for Student Affairs as well as the Student Government Association website. Even then, some students feel as if the information on this document is presented in an abstract way.
Paula Candelario, a senior Psychology major, feels it is the responsibility of the organizations to provide more obvious communication in regards to the funding they receive every year.
“It’s sort of vague. We know where the money is going in general sense, but we aren’t sure what the financial priorities are within each segment,” she said. “I’d like to see a budget breakdown for each of those organizations or clubs. Is the money going towards paying employees? Materials? Are they general donations? Do they have control of where the money goes or is it out of their hands once it’s given?”
The Student Government presidents and comptrollers meet with the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs in the spring to host public hearings for the budget requests and the allocation of the Activity and Service revenue.
Once an allocation is determined, it goes through the SGA senate for review and approval before presenting the budget to the Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. The Activity and Service Business Office facilitates the arrangements for the meetings.
The Assistant Director for the Activity and Service Business Office, the SGA advisors and Assistant Vice President for Administrative Affairs, within Student Affairs, attend the meetings but are not officially part of the meeting.