San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

University mulls two proposed fee increases for mental health services, identity centers

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Proposed increases to the Health Services Fee and Instructionally Related Activity Fee, slated for fall 2020, could see San Diego State students paying up to $113 in additional mandatory campus fees per semester to support additional mental health resources and identity and cultural centers on campus.

Now, the university is sponsoring an alternative consultation process to solicit student feedback on the proposed fee increases in public forums held throughout the fall semester. 

The forums are scheduled to be held from Oct. 21 to Nov. 15, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Andrea Dooley said.

Dooley also said the need for additional resources and support emerged through conversations between students, faculty, staff and administrators dating back to the previous academic year.

“We’ve had a number of conversations to explore what would be possible,” she said.

Under the current proposal to raise additional health fees, students could pay an additional $55, $61 or $73 to the renamed Student Health and Wellness Fee for the fall and spring semesters. 

The additional revenue would be spent addressing the need for additional counseling resources to meet increasing campus demand. 

“Revenue generated from this proposed increase will sustain existing, and allow the hiring of additional, counseling faculty and staff to meet the mental health needs of SDSU students,” according to the Budget & Finance website.

Director of Counseling & Psychological Services Jennifer Rikard said the increased fees are necessary to shrink the student-to-counselor ratio. 

“The need for mental health resources is skyrocketing, both here at SDSU and across the country,” Rikard said. 

SDSU students could see the ratio drop from one counselor per 1,500 students to one counselor per 1,000 students, depending on which fee option is recommended. And the amended Student Health and Wellness Fee could raise between $3,797,500 and $5,043,500, according to the Budget & Finance office.

The university is also proposing a $40 fee increase per semester to support identity and cultural centers on campus.

The increase to the Instructionally Related Activity Fee would help support the existing identity centers on campus: the Black Resource Center, the Center for Intercultural Relations, the Pride Center and the Women’s Resource Center. 

Women’s Resource Center Coordinator Jessica Nare said equality and diversity are important values on campus. She also highlighted the need to enhance success for the students served by the centers.

“The increase to the (Instructionally Related Activity Fee) intends to close equity and achievement gaps on campus,” Nare said. 

Additionally, Nare said funds would help launch new identity and cultural centers proposed by the student body, including the Asian American Pacific Islander Lounge, Latinx Resource Center and the Native Resource Center. 

“While we have received some one-time funds, we are also looking for more sustainable funding to provide support and resources for these identity centers,” she said.

Budget and Finance Director Dana Smith said the Campus Fee Advisory Committee, comprising mostly of students and some, will review student feedback before plans to submit a recommendation to the office of President Adela de la Torre.

A final decision on the proposed fee increases will be made before March or April 2020, when students begin to register and pay fees for the fall semester. 

Students will be able to cover the proposed fee increases with financial aid should they receive it from federal or state sources. The university will also allocate 3% of revenue from each fee increases for return to aid — a program used in some universities, such as the University of California system, that reallocates funds back into a financial aid fund.

An ad for the alternative consultation process detailing the proposed fee increases first appeared in the Sept. 25 issue of The Daily Aztec.

According to Dooley, the university’s outreach campaign to engage students and ensure their involvement in the process will extend to student emails, Blackboard, digital displays on campus, social media and an informational video currently in development. 

Dooley also said the university has extended its deadline for students to submit a statement in favor of or opposed to the fee increases to the Campus Fee Advisory Committee until Oct. 10. 

Students currently attending SDSU’s Imperial Valley Campus would be exempt from any additional mandatory student fees.

A previous version of this story misrepresented the counselor-to-student ratio under the proposed Student Health and Wellness Fee increase. The Daily Aztec regrets this error.

About the Contributor
Michael Cline, Assistant News Editor
Michael Cline is a second-year graduate student in the Rhetoric and Writing Studies Department. He graduated from San Diego State in 2017 with a degree in political science. He hopes to work in public media after graduation.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
University mulls two proposed fee increases for mental health services, identity centers