For the first time in over a decade, Cal State Long Beach students may see their health services fee go up next spring.
The proposal to raise the fee from $90 to $150 per year was presented to Associated Students Inc., in March by Director of Student Health Services Dr. Mary Ann Takemoto.
“Without a health center fee increase we will not be able to maintain our current level of services,” Takemoto wrote in a statement to students. “Costs in all areas of operation have increased over time. Our only alternative would be to reduce staff or services, resulting in longer wait times for students and an increase in referrals out.”
The student health fee is automatically included in CSULB tuition.
Although ASI voted down the resolution, the Student Fee Advisory Committee recommended the fee increase to CSULB President Jane Close Conoley.
Due to the nature of the proposal, the decision of whether or not to enact this fee is at Conoley’s discretion, since it is related to tuition.The Student Fee Advisory Committee is comprised of ASI members and university faculty.
Conoley has not made a decision yet, according to the Student Health services website.
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ASI President Marvin Flores said in an email that the main reason the resolution was vetoed was because ASI wanted more information on where the money would be going and why students needed to pay it.
“We are not in favor of imposing another fee on students,” Flores said. “But we do understand why it is being proposed as a fee increase. Currently, we are working on collecting all the information to see what students really need and how the university can possibly help with these necessities without resorting to a fee.”
The increase will be focused mostly on mental health services.
CSULB students have had the lowest health fee in the California State University system for over 10 years, according to the CSU website.
For the 2015-2016 academic year, Cal State Fullerton students paid $160, San Diego State University students paid $300, and Chico State University students paid $266.
CSULB Student Health Services provides students with primary care, immunizations and sexually transmitted infection testing, as well as a host of other services such as laboratory testing and X-rays.
Additionally, according to CSULB health services website, a significant portion of the fees goes towards keeping prescription and over-the-counter medication at manufacturing cost.
According to Takemoto, medical equipment and labor costs have gone up without an increase in funding over the last decade.
Some of the increase will go the these rising costs, but most of it will go toward counseling and increased mental health services.
“Counseling and mental health services is an area that has been understaffed and in need of greater support,” Takemoto wrote in her statement. “Students are dealing with increased levels of stress and mental health issues that impact their ability to be successful. Our current system cannot meet student demand.”
The increase would be incremental over the next two years, beginning in spring 2017 and ending in spring 2018.
According to the CSULB health services website, should the fee be increased, students who receive financial aid would get an increase in their aid packets to cover the additional cost.
Michaela Kwoka-Coleman contributed to this story.