Daily 49er

ASI aims to bring new student programs

Justine dela Rosa and Cynthia Mauleon, Staff Writers

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While a 24-hour study center may be the only current, concrete result of Associated Students Inc. gaining an extra $1.2 million to spend next school year, there are still plans to fund new areas and programs.

The extra $1.2 million is a result of the $16 student fee increase and a 3.5 percent increase in student enrollment, ASI Executive Director Richard Haller said.

Haller said that this will be the first time that the multi-million dollar corporation will have the ability to fund new areas such as major programming, student research funds, a 24-hour study center and study abroad grants for the first time.

Enrollment growth at Cal State Long Beach has been around 1.5 to 2 percent in recent years, but the student population is projected to increase to approximately 37,000 students, Haller said. As a result of the $16 increase, each student will begin paying $60 in ASI fees in the fall. Students will also continue to pay $179 in University Student Union fees, which covers the Student Wellness and Recreation Center.

“Each additional student pays fees,” Haller said. “So even if we didn’t have a fee increase, we would have had additional money just from enrollment increases.”

The higher-than-usual enrollment accounts for an increase of $109,022, according to an ASI fee income projection document. Additionally, the $16 fee referendum generated approximately $1.1 million alone, Haller said.

For sophomore communications studies major Quinn Le, the fee increase will be worth it.

“I don’t mind paying $16 more in student fees, if I know it’s going to benefit students at large,” Le said. “I’m passionate about that.”

Additionally, ASI has allocated a total of $200,000 to major programming.

“That’s what all the advertising [for the referendum] was about,” Haller said. “‘Imagine the possibilities,’ and all that.”

Other CSUs, such as Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge, host major performances or concerts that are funded by their own ASI, Haller said. However, until now CSULB has been unable to create major events because student fees are relatively low compared to other schools, he said.

Possibilities include having distinctive speakers come to campus, such as Magic Johnson, who spoke to the campus community at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center last spring semester.

One of the obstacles Haller noted in regard to major events is that CSULB lacks a facility that can seat three or four thousand people. He has spoken with Michelle Roberge, the executive director of the Carpenter Center, who is interested in collaborating to create more daytime events at the center.  The Carpenter Center seats about 1,000 people.

The money allocated for major programming, student research funds, and study abroad grants are being held in assigned contingency, which Haller said means that “you can’t touch it and it can’t go anywhere until the budget has been approved.”

Student research funds and study abroad grants have a budget of $25,000 and $50,000, respectively, and these two programs will be the priority during the summer, Haller said.

“We’ve allocated 50,000 dollars to study abroad grants so starting fall students can apply for ASI grant money to go study abroad. That’s huge,” former ASI President John Haberstroh said.

ASI’s support of the Educational Opportunities Program, which provides financial aid in the form of book grants to low income students, will be doubled to $40,000. Haller said there has been an increase in the need for EOP funding because the program started serving Assembly Bill 540 and undocumented students.

The rest of the money will be used for capital expenditures, which includes renovations to the Soroptimist House and The Isabel Patterson Child Development Center.

“Finally having some money to do these renovations and fix and repair these buildings, that’s exciting to me,” Haller said.

Haberstroh said he believes that in order for students to fully experience the benefits of the fee increase, they must take it upon themselves to get involved.

“If you pay the fee money — because we all do — if you go to those events, you’re getting your moneys worth,” Haberstroh said. “I strongly encourage every student to get as involved as possible on campus with that money.”

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