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Student excellence fee to increase by $79 in spring

The increase will be used to improve accessible technology on campus.

Come January, all Cal State Long Beach students will have to pay an additional $79 in student fees per semester.

The increase will bring the Student Excellence Fee up from $94 to a total of $173 per semester.

It will add an estimated $2.8 million to the revenue currently generated by the fee, bringing the fee’s total projected revenue to $9.4 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to Terri Carbaugh, associate vice president for legislative and external relations.

The process for determining exactly how the additional $2.8 million will be used is still underway, but it is intended for “technology that touches students,” according to Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Dowell.

There were “something like $5 million worth of requests for what will be about $1.3 million that we can award through this proposal process,” Dowell said.

Former CSULB President F. King Alexander approved the increase to the Student Excellence Fee as one of his last acts as CSULB president.

Originally created by Alexander in 2011, the Student Excellence Fee was intended to “provide essential funding to multiple academic, student, and athletic service programs that [were] in jeopardy of being eliminated” due to recent system-wide budget cuts, according to a press release on the CSULB website.

Interim President Donald J. Para explained the fee increase in a campus-wide email about the budgetary update in September.

“In the last few years of deep budget reductions, CSULB has not had resources to provide adequate support for technology,” Para wrote. “These concerns have been raised repeatedly by an array of campus constituents, including students, faculty and staff.”

Carbaugh said that CSULB administrators want and expect teachers and students to utilize more technology in the classroom as a way to stay engaged while off-campus, which can be problematic if the classroom technology and the campus Wi-Fi aren’t equipped to handle the increased load.

“There is a general expectation that students should be able to pull out their iPad or laptop anywhere on campus and connect to reliable Internet access,” Carbaugh said. “Students are expected to apply technology, teachers are expected to apply technology; so, it’s all interrelated.”

According to Para, Alexander passed the increase in order to more effectively address this issue by providing the necessary funding to get CSULB’s classroom technology up to speed and improve “wireless access, bandwidth and multiple student device connectivity.”

Dowell also mentioned that faculty members who work on other campuses are constantly reminding the administration how far behind CSULB’s technological environment is.

“We’re a little lean, to say the least, on the kind of technology we have in the classroom,” Dowell said. “They have dedicated computers, flat screens instead of projectors and other things.”

Although both the original $94 fee and the additional $79 are a part of the same Student Excellence Fee, the two parts will be kept separate and used for different purposes, according to Dowell.

Dowell said that both parts of the fund will go through separate annual allocation processes in order to ensure “we’re spending that to the best benefit of students.”

The annual allocation process allows colleges to apply for portions of the Student Excellence Fund each year by collaborating with their respective Associated Students Inc. senator. The senators then submit the proposals to ASI President John Haberstroh and Vice President Jonathon Bolin.

Haberstroh and Bolin send their recommendations to Dowell, who makes a final recommendation to Para, according to Dowell.

The decision on how to allocate the funding is ultimately up to the presiding CSULB president, according to Dowell.

Dowell said that the lengthy nature of the process and the sheer amount of requests received for the funding is why the fee will not take effect until next semester.

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