Student activity fee to jump $3

Next year's student activity fee will increase by $3 in an attempt to distribute more money to student organizations and is part of next year's fiscal budget, which unanimously passed the Marquette Student Government senate Thursday.

The 2005-'06 estimates for MUSG's operating budget total $435,500, which is the collective student activity fee money provided by each university undergraduate.

This year the budget committee funneled almost $250,000 to campus programs and more than $115,000 to student organization allocations. The student organization allocation finance line was increased by more than $23,000 from last year.

Such an increase will benefit student organizations applying for money for the programs they put on each year, said Financial Vice President Andrew Doyle, a College of Business Administration junior.

"Constitutionally, we were guided to put a majority of the increase back to the students and the SOA," Doyle said.

In the past year, student organizations have ballooned by 38 percent and held about 2,200 events on campus, said Jon Dooley, assistant dean of student development.

"The increase in the student activity fee will allow student government to fund a greater portion of the request that they receive from student organizations," Dooley said. "It certainly is not going to cover all of the requests even if the amount that was requested this year would be the same next year."

Another increase of $2,000 was built into the program board's special events line. The extra funding will be used in planning the possible homecoming and homecoming week next fall.

The administrative salaries, which cover executive board stipends, director stipends and hourly employees, were given a boost as well. These salaries will increase by $3,750 starting next fall.

However, not all changes in the budget were increases.

In the fall, MUSG's total banking fees will decrease by $1,500 because Doyle wants to spend less money on such operating costs. He said this is possible if MUSG changes the way deposits are made and checks are written.

Almost $2,000 was cut from the excursions expenses and about $2,500 was taken away from After Dark programs as a way to redistribute funds that go toward homecoming, Doyle said. The decrease in After Dark funding would not affect the number of events put on during the school year, he said.

Committee members formulated the budget using the university's projections on student enrollment and the new $54 student activity fee each undergraduate has to pay for one year, Dooley said. The committee also had to base its calculations on previous years' budgets.

In past years, the budget was presented to the senate and passed by the senators that same night, Dooley said.

However, this process led to long meetings, and this year the budget was presented to the senate's standing committees weeks before senators needed to vote on it.

Doyle said the current fiscal year is not over, and the student organization allocation fund has about $85,000 to spend.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on May 2 2005.