Attendance at the Student Success Fee Open Forum dropped yesterday from six students to one. Though disappointed, associate vice provost Kimi Ikeda attributed this to Sunday’s Super Bowl.
“It disappoints me because I think this is a really huge issue for Cal Poly,” Ikeda said.
The lone student who attended yesterday’s forum was agriculture business sophomore Jason Colombini. He said he needed to get informed about the issue before he formed his opinion, but realized early on that it had to happen.
“California may not be willing to invest in my future, but I am,” Colombini said. “I’m 100 percent in favor.”
This is the first open forum Colombini attended, although, he did see the student presentation to the student advisory council. Colombini said he pays for all his college expenses himself, and since the money from the fee goes to Cal Poly, rather than a state pot, he supports it.
“Cal Poly’s ‘Learn By Doing’ philosophy is so special and so unique and for the first time in 111 years it’s threatened, and (we) might not be able to maintain it,” Colombini said. “That makes (the fee) even more important in my mind.”
Lauren Trott, business administration sophomore, has never attended a forum. However, she said she has read about the fee online and feels like she knows what the forum presentation would say.
“I would vote against it because I’m confused about what they’d be spending (the money) on,” she said. “They don’t list any specifics.”
Ikeda said, however, that the Student Success Fee would provide initiatives to make sure there are resources such as more available classes and better advising.
This is in response to students and parents who were upset last quarter because they could not get classes, Ikeda said. However, when she went to look at the situation, there were approximately 12,000 seats open in both general education and major courses. However, some of those classes were at 7 a.m. and had Friday components, which students don’t always like, she said.
“Student priority is access to classes,” she said. “We can be more efficient in our course offerings, so we can better match what courses to offer and when based on what students want or are expecting to take.”
Approximately 30 years ago, the state of California contributed 90 percent to student tuition. That number has dropped to 40 percent.
According to Ikeda, based on the current fees and at the current rate, if a student takes five years to graduate, they pay approximately $40,000 in fees alone. The Success Fee’s purpose is to lessen that time by a year, which would save students approximately $5,000, even with the new fee, Ikeda said.
“Even if we shave one quarter off, even with the new fee, students would still be saving about $1,600 per quarter,” Ikeda said.
The Student Success Fee proposal introduces a mandatory Category II, which means every student must pay the fee if they want to go here. The proposal is a $260 fee per quarter to be fazed in over a three-year period.
According to Ikeda, the last four years have seen a reduction in state support of $66 million and a net revenue increase of approximately $32 million, leaving a $33 million gap. The Student Success Fee will generate approximately $14 million to offset that gap, Ikeda said.
“We didn’t feel that the students should bear that entire burden,” Ikeda said. “We continue to look at efficiencies, and we’re looking to fundraising efforts as well to offset that.”
The next open forum is Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 1 p.m. The forums are held in the University Union, room 220. Students can vote via their portals Feb. 29 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.