ASWC membership fee lowered

Jon Ruffin

Credit: Jea Alford

ASWC voted to reduce the student government fee from 320 to 316 dollars due to a surplus of funds from the large class of 2014 during their senate meeting on Feb. 13.

In previous years the student government budgeted for 1445 students, but this year they were forced to budget for 1475 due to the large size of the incoming first-year class. The increased number of students paying the ASWC fee resulted in surplus funds for allocation. For this reason, ASWC Finance Chair Matt Dittrich proposed to the committee to lower the fee to eliminate the extra funds.

“We would have had more money than we could have allocated wisely” Dittrich said. “Even with the four-dollar drop in the fee, we’ll still have a little extra money left for new programs to use.”

New programs are taking sprout this year as well.   The “Green Fund” is a new program designed to support sustainability projects, and it will absorb some of the extra money ASWC collected.

ASWC President Carson Burns is pleased with the decision to lower the fee.

“We will be able to use our money more effectively without overbudgeting,” he said. “In essence, we’re improving our model from the past.”

Unallocated money generally rolls back into ASWC’s “master account” to be reallocated the following fiscal year.

“We aren’t handcuffing ourselves. In fact, we’ll have more money than we did last year as well as more to do with it,” said Burns.

ASWC Vice President John Loranger also supports the motion.

“We owe it to our constituents to keep the fee at exactly the level we need to provide the services we want,” he said. “If that means lowering the fee, that’s great for everybody.”

Whitman first-year Ben Cohen-Stead commented that he will withhold judgment until he sees how the money will be spent.

“I’m glad they’re trying to spend their resources effectively, but on my end, four dollars isn’t going to affect me much. We should wait and see if they do allocate the money efficiently.”