Student Services Fee provides more than students realize

The Students Services Fee gives students several benefits each semester. (Archive photo by Parker Robb | Collegian Media Group)

Every semester, Kansas State students pay a Student Services Fee. The fee – previously known as the Campus Privilege fee – is $465.48 for full-time undergraduate and graduate students. It supports many service benefits students receive every semester. According to the Student Governing Association Student Services Fee page, those services include extracurricular, health and educational benefits.

Max Harman, senior in biochemistry and chair of the Student Services Fee Committee, said he is unsure if students are aware of all the benefits they are eligible to receive.

“If I got to poll the student body, I would ask what they know is available on campus because of the Student Services Fee,” Harman said. “I want people to be aware of all the great resources available to them.”

A quick poll of 15 freshmen Marlatt Hall residents revealed they were only aware that the fee helps fund the Peters Recreational Complex.

“I honestly did not know the Student Services Fee was a big thing,” Paul Hartman, freshman in mechanical engineering, said. “The only thing I had heard they funded was the rec center, but that is it.”

Harman said the fee does fund the Rec Complex, but the most significant student services unit the fee funds is Lafene Health Center.

“Lafene receives $5.6 million in order to run the entire operation,” Harman said. “This includes salaries for employees, medications and procedures, plus all the physical needs of students.”

The fee also provides funding for student mental health. Though it is now part of Lafene and renamed Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, the counseling center separately receives $843,000 to support its operations.

“Because of the fee, K-State students are entitled to eight free counseling sessions per semester, so basically every other week a semester, you can see a counselor or a psychologist over at counseling services,” Harman said.

Harman said another benefit the fee provides is access to legal services.

“Student Legal Services offers free, confidential legal advice for all students,” Harman said. “The lawyer, Sarah Barr, can help students out with MIPs or any other issues.”

Harman said the Student Services Fee Committee uses a thorough process to determine if each unit allotted money uses the funds to its full potential.

“We review the entities that receive money at different times, usually every two or three years,” Harman said. “This is a three-week process where the organization will first present what they want. Then we will evaluate what they have done with the money, and then we are able to determine if we should change the amount of money they are given.”

The committee is reviewing Student Design Services, located on the lower level of the K-State Student Union. Harman said the unit provides an exciting service for students.

“Every single student organization gets three free hours of graphic design work that they can request,” Harman said. “If they need a new logo or graphic for an event, there is a whole team housed in the Union that will do that for student organizations free of charge.”

Emma Beatty, sophomore in computer science and council member for Marlatt, said she wished she knew about that particular benefit this past year.

“I had no idea this was available to me,” Beatty said. “This would have been great to know last year while I was designing posters. This is great to know for this year. I am excited because we struggled last year to make designs.”

Even though the committee is reviewing the Student Design Services, it still has the money for this school year to provide students with these services.

This past year’s committee allotted the money for this year’s budget. The budget decided from the reviews currently taking place will be used in upcoming years, Harman said.

Harman said the committee is working on establishing the actual amount of money available to give organizations on campus this year.

“This week, we had the 20th day of classes,” Harman said. “We now can get the projections on what collections and enrollment look like for this term. In the next week, we will get those projections in order to see where we are at money-wise.”

After the amount of money available is determined, the committee will meet with organizations under review, listen to their pitches and consider the students’ benefit. These steps help the committee decide how much money each entity will receive, Harman said.

According to the Student Services Fee webpage, an all-student committee sets the annual fee students must pay. They also review each individual line-item fee and address issues of long-term financial planning.

Harman said while the administration must approve all committee decisions, K-State is extremely supportive of their students and their choices.

The complete service list of student services entities is also on the website.