by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant
Minnesota State’s Student Government approved a 4.9 percent increase to the Student Activity Fee (SAF) for the 2019-20 school year, which will require a student referendum to pass.
The vote to approve or reject the referendum will take place as a part of the Student Government elections on Tuesday, April 9. For approval, more than 50 percent of students who vote in the election must indicate they’re in favor of the increase.
The need for the referendum comes from a piece of Minnesota Legislature passed in 2017. Minn. Stat. § 135A.0434 Mandatory Student Activity Fees Referendum says if a student activity fee budget increases by more than 2 percent from the previous academic year, the increase must be approved by a majority vote of students who vote in a campus referendum.
In total, the SAF budget is worth $2,683,047 and that money helps to fund 37 student-activity related organizations including, but not limited too, campus recreation, intramural sports, Student Events Team, homecoming, fraternity and sorority life, community engagement, multicultural activities, international activities, sexuality and gender programs, theatre, dance and several others.
The $2.68 million budget breaks down to a per student cost of $8.77 per credit hour, banded at a max of 12 credits, or $105.24. This is just slightly more than last year’s total of $100.32. In short, students would be paying a maximum of $4.92 more per semester to continue fully supporting 37 student activity groups.
This is the second straight year the SAF will have to go referendum. In 2017, Student Government approved a SAF increase of 2.96 percent. The higher percentage this year results heavily from contractual obligations for full-time staff, an increase in minimum wage for student workers and a lower student enrollment.
If the referendum fails to pass, a 2.3 percent cut will be made to each of the 37 groups who rely on the budget. In addition, $25,000 would be added to the budget from SAF reserves. These changes would bring the percent change down from 4.9 to 1.91.
Any students interested in learning more about the referendum can reach out to Student Government President, Meme Cronin, at email@example.com or to the Advisor, John Bulcock, at firstname.lastname@example.org.