Students at California State University, Long Beach may find themselves paying an extra fee in the fall semester if they’re not careful to opt-out beforehand.
The Student Involvement and Representation Fee is $2 per semester and will be used to support the student leadership, involvement, governance, and advocacy programs managed by the California State Student Association, according to the CSULB website. The CSU Board of Trustees established the fee in January. After a majority vote, the fee will be enacted for the first time fall 2015.
The voluntary fee is based off a proposal from the California State Student Association and will replace revenue sources for the CSSA that included membership dues, fundraising and Chancellor’s Office grants, according to the CSSA website. The SIRF will also be enacted system-wide across the CSU.
“[I feel] annoyed, mostly because I had no idea of this [fee] and I don’t know when the proposal happened or what it’s for really,” said Catie Harwood, a second-year dietetics major at CSULB. “I think the students should have had a choice in this too because we are the ones volunteering to pay for it.”
The SIRF would allow for CSU students to contribute to CSSA programs in order to increase its independence as the CSU student voice and create fiscal stability for the CSSA, according to the Associated Students Inc. website.
“As the voice for CSU students in system and state policy debates, CSSA should be funded by and for students,” said a statement on the CSSA website. “Whereas the association currently accepts significant amounts of funding from the CSU Chancellor, the SIRF funding proposal allows each CSU student to financially support the association advocating on its behalf. “
The CSSA website also states that CSSA’s credibility with policy makers and additional opportunities to achieve victories for CSU students will increase by implementing the fee.
Some of the programs the CSSA runs includes the Greenovation Fund to help with student-led sustainability projects at CSU campuses, shared governance to allow for student participation in CSU policy development, both state and federal government relations and advocacy and an Internship Program.
“I probably won’t [volunteer to pay the fee] because I am still confused about what it covers,” Harwood said. “I don’t think [their explanation to students] was handled in the right way.
Students can say no to paying the SIRF through the Account Inquiry link in the Student Center of myCSULB. The opt-out button is listed next to the fee name in the activity tab.
The CSSA has a budget of about $656,000 annually, according to the CSSA’s 2013-2014 budget statement. Of that, about $290,000 is taken from CSU contribution, about $282,000 from CSSA membership dues and about $84,000 from other revenue sources, the statement says.
With the SIRF, the CSSA budget would almost triple to $1.8 million if paid for by all 460,000 students within the CSU system.