Incoming freshmen, transfer and graduate students beginning in Fall 2018 can expect a $99 increase in tuition per quarter to reduce Health Center wait times and improve on-campus counseling services.
“The Health Center really serves as the primary source of health care for students at Cal Poly,” Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey said. “It’s really hard for anyone who’s new to San Luis Obispo to find a medical provider in this community.”
Cal Poly students are dependent on the Health Center’s resources for a variety of reasons. For instance, San Luis Obispo medical providers will not accept Kaiser Permanente health insurance, common to students from Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. The health fee increase was planned to combat appointment congestion stemming from students’ reliance on campus healthcare.
“I hope to see the Health Center fully carry out the extent of their services,” Student Health Advisory Committee chair and sociology junior Lizzie Kiner said. “This fund is going to provide additional services that will fulfill the voiced needs of students.”
Currently, the average walk-in wait time at the Health Center is between two and three hours. The fee increase, which will be phased in over a period of four years, could shorten wait times by as much as an hour. Implementation priorities include extending Health Center weekday hours into the evening and phasing in new staff to manage peak operation times. Establishing satellite clinics around campus is also under exploration, according to this month’s Associate Students, Inc. board meeting agenda.
“All of those issues relating to student health and well-being are directly related to student success,” Humphrey said. “We want to make sure that our health and well-being efforts allow students to be as successful as possible both inside and outside the classroom.”
The fee increase also covers initiatives to broaden Cal Poly’s counseling services. Under the Health Center’s current model, students were being referred to off-campus therapy after one or two visits to counseling services. Cal Poly plans to bring on a psychiatrist, two counselors and one licensed clinical social worker within the first year of the fee’s implementation.