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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Student Senate to consider fee referendum

Texas A&M’s Student Senate will vote Wednesday on whether to support the increasing student service fees and whether to call a referendum on the increase in April.
Current student fees are at $11.86 per semester credit hour, but students cannot pay any more than $142.32 total in fees. There is currently a state-mandated cap of $150 per semester that the fee falls under. The Student Service Fee Advisory Board (SSFAB) is proposing to raise that fee to $12.51, which will surpass the $150 cap by 12 cents, said Joe Williams, MSC vice president for diversity and a member of the SSFA .
Mark McCaig, president of the student government watch, warned voting delegates to pay attention to the details involved in voting for an increase that will surpass the cap.
“I do not believe the SSFAB made their recommendation to increase the student service fee one cent above the state mandated (per semester credit hour) cap because they believed it was in the interest of the student body,” McCaig said. “The student body made it very clear last year that they don’t support a student service fee increase.”
Speaker of the Senate Matthew Wilkins encouraged students to come to the Student Senate meeting to voice their opinions.
“We can only voice student opinions if we know what they are,” he said.
Bill Kibler, interim vice president of student affairs said according to the Texas Education Code, that if the student body votes in favor of increasing student fees to surpass the $150 cap at a referendum, the University can seek increases in student fees for up to 10 percent without seeking SSFAB or student body consent. Additionally, a new cap of $250 will go into effect.
“We haven’t had a student body referendum because I don’t even know the last time A&M has increased the (student service) fee 10 percent,” Kibler said.
The SSFAB recommends an increase of 65 cents, which would push the total fee slightly over the $150 cap.
Anytime you cross that line you must have a vote of the students in referendum to support going over that line, Kibler said.
Williams urges students to vote to increase the fee for the benefit of the University.
“In order for the University to expand there are going to have to be increases in the future,” Williams said.
Kibler said without the increase that there would have to eventually be layoffs of faculty and staff because of the need to increase costs to keep up with doing business.
If a majority of students vote for the increase in April, the cap will be surpassed. Students may vote in future referenda should the administration decide to have a 10 percent increase in fees or more. Increases of 10 percent or less will not require student approval.

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