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

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

The Battalion

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Students have a say in the pay

Student Fees
Photo by Graphic by Rachel Grant
Student Fees

From the Writing Center to Evans Library, administrators provide insight on the required student fees and their approval process.
All Texas A&M College Station students are required to pay fees for student services such as the Health Center, the Student Recreation Center and Memorial Student Center in order to operate, maintain and improve these facilities.
With over 60,000 students on campus, services that cater to students must be properly funded, according to Tom Reber, associate vice president of student affairs. Although most students may not be aware, these service fees are heavily dependent on student opinion.
“For all your fees, in order to have a fee, the students have to vote in favor of it,” Reber said “Back in 1990 when the students voted to build the REC, and they’re not here anymore, was it a good vote? Was it a bad vote? Well, imagine campus without the REC and where would everyone go? So some classes have to take the stand to leave the University in good shape for the next generation of students to come.”
Referendums to increase or introduce a new student fee are placed on student body election ballots every year. All students can vote to determine the fate of student fees, but if they choose not to participate in this process, according to Reber, the fee still applies to them.
“Usually, what happens is the students who are motivated about doing something usually get out and vote,” Reber said. “The ones who don’t care and don’t vote then get upset and say ‘who voted for that fee I didn’t vote.’ Well you didn’t vote against it.”
Completing his 12th year as the associate VP of student affairs, Reber said he recalls three to four years periods, where there were no student fee increases because the students simply did not want them.
“We’re paid by the students to manage your facilities and your programs,” Reber said. “If the students don’t want the MSC to be clean, then it can stay dirty. It’s your home. It’s your experience, and the last thing we want to do is price people out of the college of their choice. We want to do the best we can with whatever funds the students are willing to spend.”
Giving students the option to opt out of services would allow student facilities to cater to only a small group of students, according to Jerry Strawser, vice president for finance. Strawser said because the services on campus are public goods, fees must be a part of every student’s tuition.
“What if a student did decide to opt out of paying for the health center and something happens to them on campus,” Strawser said. “Are we going to turn them away? No, we need to treat the student and provide them with that service. I’m paying property taxes on my home now and my daughter’s graduated and she’s not going to any of those local schools. But my taxes are still paying for those schools and things in that area that I don’t use in that area, but I have used in the past. It a public good, students just have to play their part.”
Business honors sophomore Gabrielle Orion said the student service fees right now are acceptable because they allow the facilities on campus to be better for everyone.
“If everyone pays into it, it’s able to provide the best services for the community as a whole,” Orion said. “And it keeps the rates down for everyone. I have never been to the clinic, but I would like to think that if I need it one day, they’ll have the things I need.”

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