by Jocelyn Burgess/The Siskiyou
Left to right, Elizabeth Tafeen, student vice president; Monique Teal, student body president; Phil Shilts, director of communication at ASSOU Senate meeting highlighting discussion of resource fees.
In the first senate meeting since Senate election results, ASSOU President Monique Teal led a presentation showcasing the history of resource fees, their effect on student tuition and reformed policies that are now underway.
Teal met with new and veteran senators and directors on the second floor of the Stevenson Union to discuss reformed resource fee policies among other issues.
Teal explained that resource fees came from a plea by Oregon University Systems. During hard times, their function was to raise money for higher education.
"Out of desperation," Teal said, "Universities have created resource fees."
Resource fees are the child of a 10-year recession which occurred between 1997 and 2007, a recession that forced Oregon University Systems to create fees to fund areas of Higher Education that could not otherwise be funded. Resource fees come in four types including Programmatic, which are fees to help fund departments such as the School of Business or School of Science; Technology fees, which help fund new computers, programs and classrooms; Incidental/Student fees, which help pay for the Stevenson Union, athletics, music and the like; Building fees fund building maintenance, while Health Services fees helps pay for the Health Center and its programs.
While resource fees help fund the university, many students are unaware of where the money goes or that these fees are not covered by their financial aid, which causes some students to fall short in tuition payments. Shortfalls can sometimes be only a couple hundred dollars. Yet that can mean the difference between the ability to attend the university or not.
Students have since been lobbying Congress to create a policy to reverse resource fees. This year, Legislator Vicki Walker, former chair of the Senate Education Committee, helped sponsor a bill that would take the power to create and increase resource fees away from OUS and give it over to the Legislature, according to Teal.
This will mean several changes to resource fees overall. Resource fees will now be collectively included with the overall bill, allowing for Financial Aid to cover them. Additionally, universities will not be able to create new resource fees even if funds are low.
Junior Business Senator Dana Baker commented on the new resource fee policy.
"I think the resource fees will [now] make more sense to students. The system is more clear," Baker said.
For more information on resource fees, everyone is welcome to attend ASSOU meetings at 6 p.m. in SU 313. Students interested in becoming involved in student related fees and policies should also attend the Student Fee Committee training on Nov. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m.