For 20 years, every student at Windward Community College has contributed a $10 semesterly student activity fee that goes to the Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i at WCC (ASUH-WCC).
Also known as student government, ASUH-WCC uses the funds to plan and execute events on campus from festivals, learning seminars and career fairs to more fun activities like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day celebrations. The fee also helps pay for student workers on campus and to fund student clubs and groups.
Despite inflation over the past 20 years, the fee has not changed. However, ASUH-WCC will be presenting a proposal to the administration asking to implement a new type of student life fee of $15 per semester before the end of the school year.
Student life coordinator Ka‘ahu Alo said, “There needs to be a fee increase so the student government organization is able to continue to have the funds to host all the events on campus.”
He added that the fee would not be mandatory for students who take all of their classes online.
Not everyone likes the idea of a new fee.
“Increasing the student fee will cause more financial stress on students who may already be struggling with money, and this should not be forced upon anyone who is already paying a lot for their education,” said WCC student Kainani Luber.
Student fees arose on America’s campuses over a century ago. Students on many campuses collectively decided to self-assess fees to fund extracurricular activities and niceties that were not covered by tuition. The belief was that certain activities and facilities from athletic fields to student centers to caps and gowns would enhance student life on campus.
WCC student Emily Ford said she agrees with the philosophy behind student fees.
“Student fees have existed for a long time, and it’s important that the school’s student government has enough money to keep throwing all the great events they host, some of which do benefit students in need like the food pantry events for example,“ she said.
by Ronald Vacca-Farley , Special to Ka ‘Ohana