Increase student participation before increasing activity fees

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An extra $24 is not small change to everyone.

No one likes to discover added fees when checking their bill, but starting in the fall, students enrolled at the Alamo Colleges will have to reach even deeper into their pockets come tuition time.

A vote to increase the student activity fee from $1 to $3 per credit hour was passed by the Alamo Colleges board of trustees March 20.

Leading up to the vote, members of this college’s Student Government Association surveyed students across all five Alamo Colleges for their opinion regarding a potential increase.

The survey was designed to give students a voice.

Of those who participated, 62 percent voted in favor of the increase.
The issue with this process is that the 1,715 students who responded make up less than 3 percent of the 72,123 enrolled at the Alamo Colleges.

This is hardly a majority vote. Furthermore, the poll was conducted in only a few days.

This all but ensured most students would miss the opportunity to give their opinion.

The survey presented to students on campus did not pinpoint where the extra money would go if the fee was raised.

If only 3 percent of a population votes on an issue and the document presented does not provide clear details, does it count as letting voices be heard?

According to the Student District Council, the fee is used to fund student clubs, organizations, events and extracurricular activities.

The funds have also been used by the office of student life for employee compensation and remodeling Loftin Student Center.

Fixing Loftin benefits many, but no data exists to show how many students actually take advantage of clubs and activities.

Online students also must pay the fee, regardless if they ever physically appear on campus.

One trustee indicated that a per semester increase of $12 to $36 is too small of a number to fret over.

However, to some students it is the difference between being able to afford renting a textbook or buying gas to get to campus.

Tripling a fee because 1,074 students of 72,123 “voiced” support for it is not representing students’ best interests.

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