A Fee Restructuring Proposal for the Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) Fee

 

Upcoming Student Referendum:

December 7,8 & 9 (online voting to be coordinated by Associated Students)


Upcoming campus wide meetings:

Date TIme Location
October 25 5 - 6 pm Recreation Room at lower level in the "J"
October 26 Noon - 1 pm UC South Lounge

Other upcoming meetings where the IRA fee proposal will be discussed:

Group Date TIme Location
IRA Committee October 13 3 - 4 pm NHE 120
Associated Students October 18 2 - 3 pm UC South Lounge
HSU Academic Senate October 19 4 - 6 pm Goodwin Forum
Student Fee Advisory Committee October 20 2 - 3 pm NHE 120
Jack Pass (Parking and Transportation Committee) October 21 2 - 3 pm NHE 113
Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Committee Members, Student Athletes & Coaches October 27 3 - 4 pm Lumberjack Arena
IRA Funded Programs October 27 4 - 5:30 pm UC South Lounge

FEEDBACK FORM


IRA Fee Proposal Handout (PDF)

FAQ's: JACKPASS

FAQ's: Athletics

Lumberjack Newspaper Ad

Lumberjack Newspaper Ad #2 - Referendum


Description and Rationale:

Each semester students pay the IRA Fee to support important and unique activities.  The IRA Fee in turn benefits many Humboldt State students.

Currently, the IRA fee provides financial support to four programs.  First, the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund (HEIF) makes awards for student recommended projects across campus, such as solar power projects and energy efficient lighting for the Redwood Bowl.  Second, the student-led IRA Committee helps 35 student programs, such as the Marching Lumberjacks, Theatre Arts, Osprey Magazine, student conclaves, etc.  Third, the IRA Fee funds Athletics along with ticket sales, donations, concessions sales, etc. which supports seven women’s teams and five men’s teams with 351 HSU student athletes, and students paying the IRA fee may attend regular home games simply by showing their student ID.  Fourth, JackPass allows students to ride regional public transportation by simply showing their student ID.  In particular, JackPass is very popular with students and has grown from providing students with about 250,000 rides in 2007-08 to over 310,000 rides in 2009-10 – That’s a 24% increase in only 3 years, while JackPass’s share of IRA revenue went up only 7.3% during the same period.

However, the IRA Fee is running out of steam and is no longer sustainable.  Each year the IRA Fee has been increased by an inflation factor which has not kept up with our IRA program costs.  For example, we expect double digit increases in mandatory retirement and medical costs for employees, and increased costs from the bus companies, due to the popularity of the JackPass and their increased payroll costs, fuel costs, etc.  We also expect increased costs for items, such as printing, travel, performing arts productions, insurance, equipment, supplies, and so forth.

If we fail to act, then the quality of these programs will suffer due to cutbacks.  More importantly, we may lose an important facet of what makes Humboldt State different, more diverse, more sustainable, more innovative.

To keep the IRA programs viable and sustainable, we propose two changes.  First, we propose to raise the IRA Fee by a flat dollar amount each year as described in this section.  This chart summarizes the proposed IRA Fee rates:

Proposed Rates

Second, we propose to reset the distribution percents between the four programs, so that Athletics receives a smaller share of the total IRA Fee, JackPass receives a larger share, and HEIF and IRA Committee each receive their share of the increase.  Effectively, Athletics would get a smaller increase which allows JackPass to realize a larger increase.  The chart on the next page illustrates how the proposal to redistribute the IRA Fee will impact the programs, particularly Athletics and JackPass:

IRA Fee Distribution

The chart below illustrates the proposed funding shift of $119K from Athletics to JackPass.  The Recast column shows the proposed new IRA fee distributions for 2011-12, and the Change columns show the amount that moves from Athletics to JackPass and the percent change:

IRA estimate recast

Stabilizing the IRA Fee and increasing the JackPass’s share will allow the IRA programs to maintain their high quality success and place the programs on a sustainable path.

To Learn More and To Get Involved:

Attend one of the Campus Wide Meetings scheduled for October 25, 2010 from 5 to 6 pm in the Recreation Room at the lower level in the “J” and October 26, 2010 from noon to 1 pm in the UC South Lounge.  Feedback forms will be available at these meetings. Also, information is available at the IRA Fee Proposal website at http://www.humboldt.edu/budget/IRAFeeProposal.php where you can also leave comments.

Frequently Asked Questions:

I’m on financial aid; will the fee be covered in my financial aid packet? The IRA fee is included in your registration fees and would increase your financial aid budget.  The Financial Aid Office would determine how your financial aid package would be adjusted based on this change.

How will the IRA Fee affect my classes? The IRA Fee programs do not divert any funds from the classroom.  On the other hand, these funds cannot be used for classes.

Will the JackPass continue to be free to all students who pay the IRA Fee? Yes, if the proposed fee increase is implemented the JackPass would continue for all students paying the IRA Fee.

I only attend part-time, can I use the JackPass and go to regular home games by showing my ID card?  Yes, it doesn’t matter if you are a part-time or full-time student, as long as you pay the IRA Fee, you can use all of the services.

Do other universities have similar programs? Yes. Many universities have programs similar to the JackPass and charge as much or more than the JackPass.  Also, many universities have Athletics programs, student activities, etc.

Why don’t students who want to do an energy project just pay for it themselves? Why should all students have to pay for them? Students voted to assess themselves the fee for the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund (HEIF).  It is the combining of all the students together that makes these programs stronger.

Why don’t students just buy a bus pass or pay the bus fare? By pooling our purchasing power, students can usually get a better deal on the JackPass than paying for each ride individually.  Also, students might miss more classes if they don’t have enough money for bus fare, especially near the end of the semester.  Furthermore, the IRA Fee can be included in financial aid packages.  (The Financial Aid Office would determine how your financial aid package would be adjusted based on this change.)

What will happen if this fee is not approved? If the IRA fee is not approved there is little doubt that many of these services will be lost or cut back.  If the JackPass gets cut back, students may end up paying more for transportation, such as car expenses, parking permits, etc. 

Does the fee apply to grad students and other post baccalaureate students, such as credential students?  Yes.

Who determines how the IRA fee is allocated? The fee is allocated to the four programs directly on a percentage basis.  The proposal is to reset the percentages in Fall 2011, so that Athletics gets less of an increase, JackPass gets more of an increase, and HEIF and IRA Committee continue to get their share.  Then, each program has a committee with student representation that makes recommendations on their program or directly allocates funds.

What is the review process for this proposal?  How can I give my opinion?  California State University policy requires consultation with students and the campus community prior to implementing fees such as those proposed.  This proposal is being reviewed by several campus groups and committees, including the Student Fee Advisory Committee at its October 6th and 20th meeting, the IRA Committee, Parking and Transportation Committee, and Associated Students.  You are encouraged to attend one of the Campus Wide Meetings scheduled for October 25, 2010 from 5 to 6 pm in the Recreation Room at the lower level in the “J” and October 26, 2010 from noon to 1 pm in the UC South Lounge.  Feedback forms will be available at these meetings. Also, information is available at the IRA Fee Proposal website at http://www.humboldt.edu/budget/IRAFeeProposal.html where you can also leave comments.  Also, if a student advisory referendum is held, current students will be able to vote to support or not support the proposal.

Pros and Cons:

Pros

  • The IRA fee proposal will ensure that students continue to enjoy the services, enrichments and experiences that supplement and round out an HSU education.
  • Even with the proposed increase, HSU remains among the most affordable universities in the country.
  • Without the IRA fee proposal, services may be curtailed, which could result in students paying more for transportation, less competitive and possibly fewer athletic programs, less funding for the Lumberjack student newspaper, KRFH student radio station, etc., and fewer energy independence projects.
  • Financial aid to cover the cost of the increased fee is available as part of the student’s financial aid packet.  The Financial Aid Office would determine how your financial aid package would be adjusted based on this change.
  • Cons

  • The additional IRA fee would impose an increased financial burden on students.  Students who are working their way through school must work even longer hours to pay these fees. This could limit access to higher education for some students in the face of escalating fee structures at HSU and the CSU.
  • Some students would have to pay the IRA fee, even though they might not use the services funded by the IRA fee.
  • The IRA programs should look for other sources of funds or cut back their services to reach sustainability, rather than increasing the IRA Fee.
  • Since these services are not required for an HSU degree, students should only have to pay for services they use.