Just as voters have a stake in where their tax dollars go, students should receive the same courtesy with their tuition.
The average full-time student at Texas State will pay $9,348 per semester if the student is a Texas resident or $20,268 per semester if the student comes from out of state. In this lump sum are 13 different fees tacked on in addition to the cost of classes. These fees include fees for the shuttles, recreation center and a $1 environmental fee.
Out of these 13 fees, only one fee, the Student Service Fee, is under the jurisdiction of students on how it is delegated and spent. A committee comprised of administrators and appointees from the Student Government president act on behalf of the entire student body to budget this single fee, which is $10 per credit hour, capped at $90 per student per semester.
The student service fee covers all things on campus that are not directly tied to academics or another explicit fee. This fee supports Student Government, guest lecturers, Career Services, the Counseling Center, even The University Star and KTSW.
Limiting students to have a say in only this single fee is a serious circumstance of representation given that students are footing the bill for all fees. Additional student committees should be formed with the power of input on how more—if not all—fees are portioned and spent. Even if university administration has the final say, a seat at the table will only help students compared to the current system.
Furthermore, potential student committees with jurisdiction over fees—including the current student service fee committee—should not limit its membership to Student Government. In theory, Student Government representatives speak on behalf of students as elected legislators. In practice, the governing bodies can only do so much.
For a more fair breakdown of representation on fee committees, student delegates from a diverse selection of student organizations and communities should have a voice in the process. Greek Life should have a representative. Student-athletes should have a representative as well as SCOPE, student media, resident assistants, orientation leaders and countless more organizations. Every sizable faction on this campus should have someone participate in this discussion, even if only in an advisory capacity.
Student organizations should have more say in the fee distribution since the Student Service Fee directly funds many organizations in the first place. Their contribution to discussions of other fees would be equally strong as campus leaders who have shown they can collaborate with others and speak for the benefit of students.
Students are paying way too much money to not have the opportunity to voice their approval or disapproval in an appropriate, constructive channel. The way fees are assessed, collected and spent needs more oversight from the student body and the representatives charged with this stewardship and representation should reflect the values and perspectives of every single student, whether they be full-time, part-time, non-traditional or anything between.