Volume 96, Issue 82
Thursday, March 6, 2003

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Base student fees frozen by USC

By Kelly Marcella
Gazette Staff

The proposed budget for the next fiscal year was presented to the University Students' Council last night, outlining, among other things, a freeze on the base USC student fee.

"We, the USC Board of Directors and the USC Finance Committee, are recommending a full and sustained freeze to the USC base fee," said USC VP-finance Michael Rudd.

Rudd said the base fee would be frozen at $69.09, with the eventual hope of decreasing the fee as a part of the USC's long-term plan. As a result, the total student fee, before the health plan, bus pass and dental plan fees, would increase to $185.40 from last year's fee of $182.61. The total student fee would amount to $501.15, with the added $116 coming from the newly added dental plan, he said.

To actually have us be able to freeze the USC base fee is phenomenal," said USC President Chris Sinal, noting that plan to implement the freeze was long-term. "I hope students really see the value of this."

Since this year's costs were under budget and there will be increased revenue from the double cohort students, Rudd said the USC was able to propose the freeze ahead of schedule.

"The fee freeze to the USC is actually quite minimal and within acceptable risk," Rudd said, adding the USC can maintain all levels of service, cover liabilities and ensure a responsible budget with the fee freeze in place.

"The freeze is a resounding statement that the USC is working on behalf of the undergraduate student body and is interested in their needs," Rudd said.

Rudd also explained that an additional $250,000 lawsuit liability fund, on top of their usual $250,000 contingency fund, was budgeted for the outcome of the USC's lawsuit against Travel Cuts, which is going to trial in September. He also said any excess funding will be put towards the deficit at the end of the 2003/2004 fiscal year.

"We're projected to be significantly in the black next year, with a total USC bottom line of $49,541," Rudd said.

Social Science Students' Council President Linsay Michael said she thought the budget was well-presented and concise. "[The freezing of fees] is interesting – I'm surprised to hear it's happening so soon," she said.

"I thought it was well-presented. The message of the freezing of fees is great and should be a call to administration to freeze tuition fees," said fifth-year political science and sociology student Liz Berman.

The vote to adopt the budget will be held at the USC's annual general meeting next Wednesday, said speaker Brad Nicpon.

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2002 THE GAZETTE