By Grace Johnson, Jan. 26, 2021
The Office of Student Affairs allocated a one-time $16 reduction from the Student Success Fee back to the student body, totaling $400,000 collectively that would normally fund fall athletics.
Although in-person instruction has come to a halt, the fees and allocations of the university have not. According to Executive Director of Operations Division of Student Affairs, Kaitlyn Sedzmak, a reduction was the only viable option to adjust fees.
“Lowering costs could actually cause students to miss the cost-level threshold which could re-determine their student aid eligibility,” said Sedzmak. “If they do become ineligible, they will potentially have to pay back the entire aid amount that they were given.”
All supplies related to health are covered by the mandatory health fee. Identifying specific costs for COVID-19 is difficult, according to Sedzmak. This fee could cover costs of increased personal protective equipment supply, more thermometers, sanitizer, mask, and other costs related to keeping the community safe on campus during the pandemic.
The Health and Wellness Department is not receiving more money for COVID-19 supplies. The department along with Counseling and Psychological Services are operated through usage of the Health Fee.
“Due to changes in the pandemic and regulations from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Health and Wellness department has prepared several variations of their existing department budget in case there are new directives and opportunities for additional supplies,” said Sedzmak.
CPP has COVID testing available and is looking at four new types of testing that are all equally as costly.
According to Sedzmak, the university has continued to back pay construction projects such as the new $4.7 million Rose Float Lab, the $18.3 million BSC, the $57 million BRIC and the $185 million new dormitories — all facilities that are currently inaccessible to students. The CSU system also negotiated a lowered interest rate deal for the Residential Suites, the Student Union, and the BRIC.
“Each fee paid by the students is more complex than perceived,” said Sedzmak. “The Student Success Fee, that was partially refunded, is split between three different divisions and within those divisions there are four different areas that receive a success fee allocation. Each fee has guidelines for what the money can be used for and payment for things like the Rose Float Lab and the BRIC cannot be halted.”
According to Vice President for Student Affairs Christina Gonzales, it is estimated that reopening will be more costly than anticipated as there may need to be a complete redesign of the structure of many areas on campus in preparation for possibly smaller class sizes, COVID testing and anticipated vaccinations for students and faculty.
“The operations of the university may change in terms of not having as many employees on campus,” said Gonzales. “Although, things still have to be cleaned. If you aren’t home for a month, things still get dirty. Staff is on campus to clean and keep the campus ready to open its doors. If we don’t do this, more damage could be done to the campus’ inter-workings in the future, costing more money.”
Although the operations of the buildings do not change when students aren’t occupying the campus, some students have expressed their frustration with having to pay.
“I understand that the university might need this money for other things, but not at the expense of students,” said third-year architecture student Samantha Breede. “We are already expected to pay full tuition for an online education that we never asked or signed up for. We obviously should not be paying for these fees when they are unavailable to us to even use.”
Jan. 27, 6:00 p.m.: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Student Affairs office had distributed a refund. Second, the story stated the university had negotiated a lowered interest rate when it was the CSU.
Feature image courtesy of Bermix Studio.
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