As the representative body for the undergraduate students of Towson University, the Student Government Association (SGA) is committed to serving our constituents in the most effective and efficient manner possible. We believe that as our campus population continues to grow, we as an organization must evaluate whether we have the financial resources to provide all of the services to students that are needed.
Each year undergraduate students pay a “Student Government Association” fee that allows the SGA to have a broad impact on the student body and a deep impact on individuals and their Towson University journey. The SGA fees makes up the SGA Annual Operating Budget of $1.8 million. SGA President Kurt Anderson has proposed a fee increase of $3 per semester. This would increase the semester fee to $45 and the yearly SGA Fee to $90.
Read the full press release: SGA President Proposes Changes to the Student Government Association Fee Structure for 2016-2017 School Year
On Tuesday, November 17, 2015 the Student Senate voted in favor of increasing the SGA fee for FY17. The decision now goes to the President’s Council and Board of Regents.
Have a question? Concern? Contact us
Process for Increasing Fees
Dr. Deb Moriarty, Vice President for Student Affairs and Joe Oster, Vice President for Administration and Finance/CFO presented all of the proposed fee increases for the 2016-2017 school year, including the proposed SGA fee increase during the Student Fee Forum on Tuesday, November 9, 2015. The Student Senate will vote on the SGA fee increase during the General Assembly on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 5:00 PM in UU Loch Raven. The President’s Council will then vote on the SGA fee increase before it goes to the Board of Regents for final approval in early Winter 2016.
History of the SGA Student Fee
Currently, full time undergraduate students at Towson University pay a $42/semester Student Government Association fee. Below you will find a breakdown on the history of the SGA fee, including part-time fees.
|Mandatory Annual Student Government Association Undergraduate Fee|
|FY 16||FY 15||FY 14||FY 13||FY 12||FY 11||FY 10||FY 09||FY 08||FY 07||FY 06|
|Part-Time Per Credit Hour||4||4||3||3||3||3||3||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
Reason for the Proposed Increase
Pending approval the SGA fee for FY 17 will go up $3 per semester for full time students. This would mean that all full time undergraduate students will pay an annual SGA fee of $90. The part time SGA fee would stay at $4 per unit.
Increasing the full time undergraduate SGA fee would provide approximately an additional $100,000 in revenue to the Operating Budget
To summarize why this is important for us to consider right now:
- More Student Organizations are requesting funding
- There is an increased number of groups eligible for funding for recruitment food
- Member Compensation continues to rise as minimum wage increases
- SaferMobility will need to be funded through the operating budget
- CollegeTown Shuttle expenses will be increasing
- Increased Information System expenses due to new system launch in 2016
|Increases to Student Org Funding||-$55,000.00|
|Salary Increases through FY19||-$18,000.00|
|Increases to CollegeTown Shuttle||-$3,000.00|
|Information System Licenses||-$10,000.00|
|Increases to Executive Budget||-$2,000.00|
With the implementation of Tiger Stripes we saw a significant decrease in the number of groups requesting budgets. InFY14 $264,638 was allocated to SGA budgeted organizations. InFY16 that number dropped to $216,388. For Fall 2015 48 groups requested budgets that were honored. However, 76 groups requested budgets for Spring 2016. As more groups become University Registered and meet Tiger Stripes we are projecting that more groups will qualify for packages 3 and 4, requiring more funding. Additionally, the SGA allows every package 3 group to have $250 in recruitment food. The number of groups eligible for recruitment funding for food is increasing.
Any proposed changes to the funding policy ie increased account maximums, will require additional funding. An estimated $55,000 will be needed to cover the increasing number of budgets and groups requesting recruitment food.
Over the next 3 years the SGA will have to adjust the salaries of all members to meet the Maryland State Law minimum wage increases. The salary scales will stay the same.
Minimum Wage Rates From: Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
$8.75 Effective 7/1/16
$9.25 Effective 7/1/17
$10.10 Effective 7/1/18
These increases will cost the SGA an estimated $18,000.
In Fall 2015 the Towson University Police Department in partnership with the SGA launched the SaferMobility app to help students, faculty and staff protect themselves against potential and ongoing crimes.
App features include:
- A mobile escort feature tracks your touch which if you let go, app sounds an alarm & calls the police.
- Video capability: send real-time video of an ongoing crime, or video chat with Police Communications Operators.
- Instant message capability for when you don’t want to be detected.
- A Geo-locator component to help police find you in an emergency
- Profile feature allows app users to share health information to aid emergency response teams.
The launch of the app was paid for out of the SGA reserves. An additional $12,000 is needed to cover the quarterly charges for the SaferMobility service out of the SGA operating budget.
The funding formula for the Collegetown Shuttle is in the process of being reworked.
The current formula, which has been in place since Towson’s full-time return to the program is based upon 50% of the costs being shared equally by the six schools and the rest being allocated based on three-year ridership data. Under this current model the three large schools (Hopkins, Morgan and Towson), make up 75% of the ridership and pay about a fourth per ride less than the smaller remaining schools (Goucher, Loyola and Notre Dame). The program cannot be sustained under the current funding formula.
The new proposed cost model will ease the financial strain on the smaller schools while not causing a drastic change for those who are utilizing 75% of the service. As such our share of the CollegeTown Shuttle expenses will need to be cost approximately $3,000.
The SGA, working with IT consulting firm, Sierra-Cedar, is implementing an information system to streamline processes, maintain better records, increase transparency and combine/integrate systems into one solution. The main purpose is to create a system that tracks interactions and engagement, so that the SGA and other campus departments would be able to grow and commit resources to programs that are contributing to student success. A fully integrated system will help gather data to build a 360 view of each and every student. This new system is being developed along with the University’s goals after launch the SGA will be liable for licensing fees, which are anticipated to be around $10,000.
As the demand for programming, initiatives, and equipment continues to rise, the SGA must ensure it has the adequate amount of funding in place to support the growth of our campus and the SGA’s impact in the Towson University community.