North Texas Daily

Upcoming student service budget minimizes cuts this year, adds room for new university positions

Upcoming student service budget minimizes cuts this year, adds room for new university positions

Upcoming student service budget minimizes cuts this year, adds room for new university positions
July 16
11:00 2021

The university’s Student Service Fee Advisory Committee has finalized its student service budget for the upcoming 2022 fiscal year, after balancing budget cuts, additional revenue and the potential to create new positions for certain departments.

The SSFAC was established to advise the university’s president in the budgeting of student services fees and to recommend the allocation of student services fees to best serve the needs of the largest number of students. It is made up of mostly students, with some representatives for faculty and staff.

For the 2022 fiscal year, the committee focused on a set of priorities deemed of high importance, according to the SSFAC’s executive summary obtained by the North Texas Daily. The priorities included diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, student health and well-being, campus community, leadership, engagement, retention and program consistency.  

I think the students [on the committee] do a wonderful job identifying [the needs] of students and the recommendations to help identify allocations that help other students be successful,” Elizabeth With, Vice President for Student Affairs, said. “I’m always proud of them and grateful for the amount of work and time they put into the process, because it takes a lot of their time.” 

The committee initially recommended cuts to certain student organization budgets including NT40, the Eagle’s Nest Fund, the Daily and the Green Brigade Marching Band. However, after further examination of revenue projections in May, most recommended cuts were restored. Kassie Grubbs, Division Budget Officer of Student Affairs, said the only cut not restored to student groups was $9,781.36 for the Green Brigade’s band instruments.

Due to projected COVID-19 related impacts on travel in the upcoming year, a 25 percent cut was made to professional travel and a 10 percent cut was made to student travel across areas covered by the student service fee. Partial funding was restored to the Distinguished Lecture Series and the Fine Arts Series, both on-campus events canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Increases to the budgets of the Veteran’s Center and the Pride Alliance led to the addition of a coordinator position to each program’s staff. The Multicultural Center, the First-Generation Center and Student Legal Services all received another graduate assistant. The Toulouse Graduate School was also approved for an additional graduate student for the Writing Lab.

In Chestnut Hall, Counseling and Testing Services will have an additional nine-month counselor to support diverse student populations.  

“We currently have staff who specialize in providing comprehensive services to various populations,” Bethany Evans, Director of Clinical Services/Program for Diverse Students, said. “Our staff serve as liaisons to a variety of campus departments such as the UNT International Office, the Pride Alliance and the Multicultural Center. This new position will allow us to continue to expand on the services we currently provide and continue to work towards expanding the diversity of our counseling staff.” 

Evans said the person who fills this new position will help the counseling program provide more specialized counseling and outreach services to students of color.  

Over the past five years, student service fee allocations have risen and declined alongside student enrollment trends. In the fiscal year of 2017, the allocations stood a little under $13.5 million, while in 2020 the allocations were at $11 million. As of the 2022 fiscal year, the allocations have risen to a little over $13 million.  

The overall budget available for student service fee is based upon the number of semester credit hours that are taken by students,” With said. “The increase is based upon increased courses taken by students that obviously has to do with increased enrollment.” 

Featured Image: Students walk through the Union on March 3, 2021. Image by John Anderson

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