The Portland State Student Fee Committee presented its final budget allocations for the 2015–16 academic year to the Associated Students of PSU Senate on Jan. 12.
The budget will decrease by 12.6 percent, from $16,350,154 in 2013–14 to $14,287,854. Factors contributing to this decrease include a shift in enrollment demographics, cost of living adjustment being moved from discretionary reserves to the Incidental Fee Budget, and the SFC’s decision in summer not to ask for an increase in student fees.
SFC Chair Alexandra Calloway-Nation said the decline did not represent a downward trend, “If you look at the total of what we got in 2015, it’s actually more than what we saw a year or two years ago,” Calloway-Nation said.
The budget seeks to portion the deficit evenly among fee-funded areas by making small cuts from many student groups and activities, such as hosting and food for public events.
Nearly every student-fee funded area received budget cuts. The only student programs that received additional funding were the Jim Sells Childcare Center, which will receive $5,000, and Student Media Operations, which will receive $38,837.
Cuts will also be made to student activities that do not meet criteria set by the SFC. One set of criteria was focused on keeping students employed at PSU.
“When we were making cuts in the appeals process last fall, we wanted to make sure we didn’t do anything to affect student pay. Some students can’t afford to go to school without their jobs, so we were trying to preserve that,” Calloway-Nation said.
Cultural competency was another issue that the SFC had in mind when making cuts.
“A big theme in ASPSU this year in general has been cultural competency, so we kept that in mind when making budget decisions. There weren’t many cuts to the diversity centers like the Queer Resource Center or the Multicultural center,” Calloway-Nation said.
The extent to which the SFC should cut PSU’s college radio station, KPSU, and its student-run television station, PSU.tv was a controversial topic in the appeals process.
“Obviously we don’t want to cut any student program, but when we have a budget decrease we have to look at how effective the program is, and it didn’t seem like PSU.tv was reaching as many students as it could have,” said Antoinette Wayne, vice chair of the SFC. KPSU received a cut of $28,455 and PSU.tv received a cut of $2000.