Breaking down the student activity fee

Students who don’t know what the student activity fee is may be surprised to find that its proceeds totaled $575,000 this semester.

Every undergraduate, full-time MBA, School of Divinity and Law School student is assessed the fee every semester. This semester, the student activity fee is $102 for full-time undergraduate students and $51 for part-time undergrads. But what purpose does it serve for those who pay it?

Margaret Cahill, director of Campus Life and USG adviser, said the student activity fee functions like what its name suggests; covering student events, activities and speakers on campus throughout the year.

USG and STAR are the two primary recipients of student activity fee funding. At the beginning of every semester, representatives from both organizations meet to share and discuss their tentative budgets.

According to Cahill, STAR typically receives about 60 percent of the money, with USG receiving the remaining 40 percent. Cahill said that STAR and USG develop “responsible budgets and serve as good stewards of the student activity fee.”

Advisers from Campus and Residence Life sign off on all expenditures to make sure that the money is used in the best interest of students who pay for it.

Brady Narloch, USG vice president of financial affairs, said that many students overlook the influence that the money has on campus activities.

“I think it’s one of those things that students pay for but don’t realize how much it actually comes back to them,” Narloch said. “I sometimes imagine how much less would be happening on campus than currently is if we didn’t have a student activity fee and students were responsible for funding their own clubs out of their own pockets. It would be a different story.”

Cahill said that students who want a say in how their student activity fee money is spent should either personally get involved or contact their representative.

“It’s easy to sit back and say, ‘Oh I wish they could do this better,'” Cahill said. “Tell your student representatives because they want to know. They ask often, and want to know.”

Brent Fischer can be reached at