Enrollment affects fees

By Lesley Rogers

The decrease in fall enrollment not only concerns NIU administrators, but it also significantly impacts NIU students and the Student Association.

The SA anticipated the loss of enrollment this fall, which includes 875 fewer undergraduate students and was forced to raise student fees last semester.

Most of the money that funds the 85 SA organizations, like the Campus Activities Board, Student Legal Services, Club Sports and the Black Student Union, comes from undergraduate student fees.

“Based on the fact less students are coming in, there is such a drop in the undergraduate area we were forced to increase student fees,” Virginia Welch, SA Treasurer said.

Undergraduate students paid $2.48 per credit hour for student fees, for up to 12 credits per semester. The fee was increased from last year’s rate of $2.20.

College of Law students currently pay $1.60 per credit hour, up from last year’s fee of $1.42.

Graduate students used to pay $.94 in student fees, but now pay $1.06 this semester.

Welch said the decrease in undergraduate enrollment “definitely” had an adverse affect on the SA budget.

“We had to combat the cost by raising the fees, and we also are trying to ask organizations to mainstream budgets where they’re at,” Welch said.

She said another factor for raising the fees was that many of the SA funded organizations asked for an increased budget this semester.

“Last year we granted the organizations a five percent increase but many organizations went above that,” Welch said.

SA fees are important to NIU students, she said. “They enhance student life experience and help bring speakers, concerts and clubs that make college life more memorable.”

The SA finance committee and the student senate vote on organizations that qualify to receive funding, and they have certain guidelines to follow, she said.

Welch said hopefully organizations won’t have to be cut and all organizations that need to be funded will be able to receive an SA funded budget.