Proposed AS fee sees mixed reactions

Last week Associated Students (AS) sent out pamphlets to start campaigning for the proposed student fee increase. The current fee is $48 per semester. With the proposed increase of $42 per semester, the AS fee would cost $90 per semester.

Suppose students approve the increase in students’ fee during the AS elections on March 22-23? In that case, AS proposes the extra money goes to increase the amount of funding available for clubs in the Inter Club Council and Sports Club Council, provide more scholarships and grants to students, sustain and enhance AS signature service and Programs and build capacity for shared governance. 

However some negatives to the potential fee increase  include the financial impact on students. Not every student may use the services and students may be unfamiliar with AS operations, programs and services offered.

“I feel like at first hearing that there’s going to be an increase in student fees made me a little bit upset because currently, I feel like I pay a lot of money for things I might not necessarily use or know that I have access to. But after hearing some of the benefits and I mean it’s going from what, $48 to $90? That’s not an unreasonable increase,” said third-year Chloe Taylor.

“Collectively, it could lead to a lot of benefits. But then I also think it comes down to media and letting students know that they have access to these resources because I feel like that’s a big problem at the school if things aren’t communicated well. …. And there isn’t a good relay of information on what we have access to and the things that we could do and the clubs we could join,” Taylor said. “So I feel like if that gets better, then more people would be on board.”

To help spread the word there will be an AS fee referendum open forum Wednesday, March 10, at the Otter Student Union in room number 310. From  noon until 1 p.m., there will be formal presentations and from 1 to 3 p.m., there will be drop-in hours.

“… having a small jump in price for the AS fee could really be beneficial in expanding what we have and giving us more funding to be able to include new things in our school, and make what we have better,” she continued. “Unfortunately, it does all come down to money, like seriously.”

Another student sharing Taylor’s perspective is third-year Dee Davila.

“I feel, for the most part, OK as long as the money goes where it’s supposed to. My only question is just transparency, right? Like where, where is this going? Who is it helping? Overall I think it’s great, you know, to have more money and more funding to help any student services and make the school just that much more engaging for others,” Davila said.

On the topic of transparency, Davila shared they would like to have some more information from the AS on exactly what the money is going toward.

“Sharing their records, like this is how much we gained, this is how much is going to scholarships, the different clubs. To prevent lumping everything together, because if you said something like this is going toward administration functions, scholarships, clubs, etcetera. If not, you risk 80% of it going to administration and 20% of it being used for everything else. And in that case, I don’t know if I would be OK with it.”

AS President David Ledesma said students who want to see transparency and a breakdown of what their student fees are being used for are encouraged to attend the finance board meetings.

Ledesma says the meetings are hosted Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. through Zoom.

Zoom ID: 688 636 4503

“This is where the budget development occurs, and students can make public comments on what to prioritize,” Ledesma says.

Fourth-year Anthony Chun said, “People not understanding how AS operates, I feel like this is a big thing for me. I feel like when people see the price increase it is just that; how it’s going to affect them, especially those with low income? I feel like most people don’t know what AS does.”

“I have limited knowledge. I know to a certain degree that they advocate for us, but the fact that they fund scholarships that they fund all of those things [like clubs and sports] was news to me. I feel like for an organization to ask for money, they have to be more connected with students and say hey, here’s what we do and be very transparent. Like here is how we use the money because I didn’t know they did any of that stuff,” he continued.

“I’m worried it’s going to affect people because it doesn’t seem like a lot to a certain person. To me personally, it’s not too much because I get a lot of financial aid, but there are a lot of students who don’t. So that increase is big for them,” said Chun. “As a whole, I am just kind of mixed about it.”

Similar to Davila, Chun is also looking for transparency.

“Like exactly what funds are allocated? I’m more than sure they have a sheet or something saying what goes where. But the average student doesn’t have the time, you know, to look at that kind of stuff and to take the time to understand what is going on. I feel like if AS wants more support on it, they need to create something that’s accessible to people that is like, okay, here are the quick facts. Here’s how we use it and how we want it. You know?”

Despite the advertising campaigns hosted by AS, all students are not aware of this election.

“Has the voting been?” Taylor asked. “I didn’t even know that this was happening. How do I vote? How do we get students to vote?”

“I was not aware of this [AS fee increase] happening. I never knew about it until now. I don’t follow their Instagram page, but maybe send out an email to the CSUMB network,” Davila said.

“I heard about it before. I know they promoted this; they’ve been doing this for a while. Like the entire campaign and stuff, trying to get information. I didn’t find out until like a month or two ago.” Chun said.

“I feel like I saw it somewhere on social media. I can’t remember specifically where, but I know on social media for sure,” he said. 

“I feel like being able to vote online would be really helpful,” said Taylor. “I mean, if they have a way to ensure that somebody is only voting one time, maybe from their school email. If someone can’t come to campus, such as those who go to school here but don’t live there. They are probably gonna have a say in it and I feel like nowadays, how technologically advanced we are, that we should be able to vote online and maybe also have a paper option if people want to.”

Ledesma said voting will be held on campus March 20-22, but the location has yet to be determined. Students also have the option to vote on MyRaft. Results will be posted on Instagram and shared online on the AS website at There may be an election results celebration on campus.

If students have questions, they can contact [email protected] and any of the Officers of Associated Students/Inter-Club Council/Sports Club Council. They can come to AS at tabling events and in the office in OSU Room 304.

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