written by | Treasurer Ben Uecker
Hello everyone, this is your State Treasurer Ben Uecker. Since our last delegates assembly in May many of you have been asking whether there have been any updates regarding our 2018/19 budget and proposed fee increase. I am excited to share that we have successfully passed our fee increase through the System Office and have begun making updates to our campus, state, and federal advocacy plans for next year accordingly.
Our new budget
Thanks to the contributions and feedback from our student representatives the Students United Board of Directors Passed the budget package recommended during our May delegates assembly at St. Cloud State University (Budget 3), with the board voting to support additional funding for State & Federal Advocacy, Equity initiatives, and staffing. The fee increase proposed by our board was $0.14, raising the fee from $0.47 to $0.61 per credit. At this fee level Students United would use the remaining $647K in the repurposed building fund over the course of about 6 years.
Finance and Facilities Committee
Students United submitted our proposal for the fee increase to the System Office shortly after the conclusion of our May Board meeting. State Chair Faical Rayani, Vice Chair Lexi Byler, and I presented our proposal to the Board of Trustees: Finance and Facilities Committee during their May 15th Board meeting. Though the committee members had some reservations regarding the fee increase our testimony pacified their concerns. In particular they were interested in our process; how did we decide to propose a fee increase?
We explained that our budget was based on student feedback from all seven state universities. In our presentation and the following questions we noted our fiscal policies and safeguards, as well as highlighted how we had presented the budgets to each of the student associations of each university to gather feedback. Finally, we explained that you, the students, had voted in support of the budget you wanted the Board to approve.
The amount of interest and discussion regarding the finances were overwhelmingly positive and professional this year, and the constructive feedback students provided proved to be extremely beneficial to both myself and the Board as we finalized our FY18/19 budget.
Board of Trustees
On June 20th the Board of Trustees had a second reading of our proposal, and after some discussion decided to adopt the fee increase with an additional amendment. They supported our fee increase of $0.14 and, in addition, wanted to start a greater conversation about student fees as a whole. Consequently, the Board of Trustees amended the Students United fee to be raised by $0.14 for one year, at the end of which it will be reviewed for further consideration. Furthermore, the fees for both Students United and LeadMN, our sister organization that represents 2 year institutions, will be included in a comprehensive study of all Student Fees that the Board of Trustees arranged during their May meeting.
What is next?
Well then, we passed our budget and fee increase…. So what’s next?
Since the budget and fee increase have been finalized our new Board of Directors will begin to plan what types of initiatives and campus activism they want the organization to emphasize for the next year.
Our excellent staff have begun planning new ways to expand our State and Federal Advocacy activities. They are excited to connect more students with their representatives this year to make sure YOUR legislators hear from YOU about student issues.
Finally, this is the last month for the Student United officers. State Chair Facial Rayani, Vice Chair Lexi Byler, and I will be finishing our terms the end of this month. It has been a fantastic experience being your State Treasurer this year. I have had the opportunity to meet numerous students, faculty, staff, and legislators who truly care about the wellbeing and success of students. Furthermore, it has provided me with some new friendships that I hope will last a long time to come.
Don’t worry though, your newly elected officers have shown great drive and intelligence that will no doubt allow them to push the organization to new levels of success. I have great faith in everyone involved that they will excel as individuals and push the organization into its next evolution.
Thank you all for the opportunity to serve Minnesota Students everywhere.
If anyone has questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org