Activities fee could net $215k

A Yale College Council proposal to add an optional $50 student activities fee to undergraduate tuition is expected to bring in about $215,000 in annual revenue if approved by the administration, YCC Treasurer Andrew Schram ’06 said.

The YCC is likely to ask the Yale College Dean’s Office to allocate about 50 percent of the money to fund YCC-organized events such as Spring Fling and Winter Ball, Schram said. Under the YCC proposal, an additional 15 percent of the funds would go to the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee to then distribute to various student groups, 20 percent to club sports and 15 percent to a new intercollegiate initiative, which would sponsor organizations and students interested in planning events open to the entire student body.

The YCC’s official proposal for the fee will be released on the YaleStation online portal before a referendum vote on the fee, which is scheduled for next week, YCC President Andrew Cedar ’06 said. Yale officials said last week when the YCC announced the proposal that the fee would not be enacted unless the referendum receives significant support from undergraduates.

The $50 fee would automatically be charged to students’ bursar accounts and students not wanting to pay the fee would have to officially opt-out at the beginning of the year. Although several students said they were supportive of the proposal, some expressed doubt that anyone would choose to pay a fee that is optional. But Cedar said that at other schools with similar policies, the majority of students still pay the fee.

The fee could significantly boost funding to club sports, which Schram said are among the organizations most in need of money. The women’s club soccer team receives just $200 per year from Yale’s Club Sports Office, which leaves about $10 per player — roughly enough to pay for one referee or two soccer balls, co-captain Lindsay Eisenberg ’07 said. To make up the gap in funding, club soccer players must pay a $100 annual fee to join the team. Eisenberg said she supports the proposed activities fee if it brings more money to promote club sports, but she doubts if the fee will be enough to make much of a difference.

“It’s hard to say whether it will actually be a big help or not,” Eisenberg said.

She added she thinks the administration should allocate more tuition towards club sports.

Ismail Colak ’05, president of the Yale Undergraduate Friends of Turkey, which received money from the UOFC last year, said he thinks a better solution than the proposed fee would be for the administration to take a more active role in funding undergraduate organizations.

“Our school has abundant resources,” Colak said. “Does the administration need this money to be collected from students to serve students? Can’t they make the undergraduate experience better by just contributing more?”

But overall, Colak said he thinks the fee is a good idea, and that it may be useful for organizations like his.

Joe Bono ’05 said he thinks an activity fee is an appropriate solution to fills gaps in funding for student organizations, but he would like to know exactly how the money from the fee would be distributed.

“I definitely think that student groups at Yale could use more funding and an activities fee would be an appropriate solution,” Bono said. “But I think that we really need to make sure that all the students want it.”

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