In a University Communications email released on April 2, Portland State announced it will be reducing mandatory student fees by $39. This cut in fees is due to a lack of student presence on campus as the pandemic continues to take a toll on student life and on campus activities.
The cuts are broken down by a 50% decrease in the student building fee, making it $19, and a reduction in the incidental fee to $20. These fee reductions will be applied to those taking eight or more credits and will be posted in student’s accounts a few days after the initial email. Meanwhile, full-time students will continue to pay the mandatory spring fees of $20 for the student building fee, $276 for the incidental fee, $168 for the student health fee and $44 for the recreation center fee for a total of $508.
Cuts from these two fees will affect on campus organizations such as the Queer Resource Center, Cultural Resource Centers and on-campus childcare and student activities and groups. However, other student resources such as the Student Health and Counseling Center and Diversity and Multicultural Student Services will keep their current funding and will not be affected by these cuts.
In response to these reductions, PSU invited students to attend a Student Fee and Tuition Town Hall from 12–2 p.m. on April 23. There, students will have the opportunity to ask panelists from the Board of Trustees and Student Financial Services any questions they have regarding student finances. The meeting will be hosted by the Student Fee Committee (SFC) and attended by PSU President Stephen Percy and Associated Students of Portland State University President Motutama Sipelii.
According to Percy’s email, budget cuts for this term were decided by the SFC, a group of student representatives elected by the student body to make such decisions. The financial decisions involved in this email were discussed in a meeting on Jan. 21, 2021. These fees are discussed and reviewed annually by such a committee.
Because PSU enrollment has declined, these fee reductions have been contested since fall term of 2020. Enrollment decreases combined with lack of student presence on campus because of the pandemic have caused an absence in overall funding and need for on campus upkeep and funding of student groups.
According to Director of Media and Public Relations Christina Williams, “the fee reductions have remained pretty constant for fall, winter and spring terms, reflecting a desire to reduce the fees for services that are not applicable during remote teaching and learning.”
The link for the upcoming town hall is available in the student communications email as well as online on the PSU website.