Cal Poly proposed a health services fee increase to add more medical and counseling staff at the Health Center. The fee increase was proposed based on student feedback received during the Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) Fee referendum. It would fund more medical and counseling positions to cut walk-in wait times, expand Health Center hours and increase appointments for students.
“We are responding to multiple requests from students, an [Associated Students, Inc.] resolution, feedback from parent and family advisory board, the substantive feedback that we collected in the UU referendum that students wanted us to focus on issues related to their health and wellbeing first,” Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey said.
According to a press release from the university, the proposal has two options for fee increases and expanded resources. The first option would add $99 to fees per quarter and brings the counselor to student ratio to one to 1,000. The second option would add $114 per quarter and brings the counselor to student ratio to one to 800. The current fee is $105 per quarter.
The fee increase would be phased in over four years and starts with the newly admitted students of 2018. Current students will continue to pay the current health services fee, but will still have access to the increased services.
A portion of the fee revenue will be set aside for students in financial need. According to Humphrey, 30 percent of the funds collected will be given to the Financial Aid office to distribute.
There will be two open forums for students and campus groups to learn about the fee adjustment. These will take place Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 6:10 to 7 p.m. in Clyde P. Fisher Science Hall (building 33) Room 286 and Monday, Nov. 9 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in UU Room 220. Students can submit their opinion— only one per student— online by Nov. 19.
According to Humphrey, the costs of campus health and wellbeing have gone up almost 55 percent since the fee was adjusted and has only been increased annually based on the Higher Education Price Index. As enrollment has grown, medical staff has decreased, causing longer wait times in the Health Center, shorter counseling visits and students turned away because the Health Center reached capacity.
Though they may be in short supply, health services at Cal Poly are in high demand. According to the press release, two-thirds of Cal Poly students used the Health Center last year for a total of 32,000 visits and counseling services were also utilized at a higher rate than the national average.
“We’ve created a good environment where students want to talk about the issues they’re facing,” Humphrey said. “They have great trust in the providers that we have, we just don’t have enough of them to keep them as long as they want.”
According to the press release, the university is following California State University policy throughout this process. The executive order process requires at least 30 days for feedback and education provided on the proposed adjustment.
“We will always take into consideration all feedback. I think what we have to do is balance the feedback that we get also with the overwhelming need,” Humphrey said.