Mandatory Fee Policies Affect Clubs This Fall Semester

As the fall semester approaches and in-person classes are expected, questions remain over which mandatory fees Georgia State will collect, if any.

The mandatory student activity fee contributes to funding on-campus organizations and only applies to students taking face-to-face classes. 

This summer, only online courses were offered, so the activity fee wasn’t collected. This could have an effect on student organizations.

”For students who are only taking classes taught 100% online, they will only pay the online fee and the special institutional fee,” Jeremy Craig, communications manager for the Office of the Provost, said. “If a student has a face-to-face class of any kind in their schedule, they will be charged student fees as … we have done in previous semesters.”

According to a university-wide email sent by Georgia State University President Mark Becker, the university is adopting a plan for the fall semester in which classes will be held either online, through the hybrid model or face-to-face. 

However, as of now, there is no official estimate of how the volume of students taking in-person classes will affect the budget of clubs, many of which depend on the student activity fee for income.

In the fall of 2019, Georgia State received $2,405,233 in revenue from the student activity fee, according to the Director of Student Engagement and Programs Administration. In the spring of 2020, when students began adapting to remote learning, Georgia State refunded 40% of most mandatory fees, only collecting $1,324,718 in revenue.

Afire Fellowship is a Christian organization on campus, advised by  Member of SHiFT Young Adult Ministries Denise Wilson, which depends partially on the money provided by the Student Activity Fee.

“We use the funds to purchase food for our bi-weekly Bible studies, operational supplies, parking for guest speakers and lodging and gas for our annual spring break mission trip,” Wilson said.

The organization has held six annual mission trips. Last year, they visited Daytona Beach. On these trips, the organization participates in community service, sight-seeing and social outings.

“If we do not receive funding for [the] fall semester, we may convert to a virtual environment,” Wilson said. “I received an email from the Dean of Students indicating that although we’ve received our budget for [2021], we cannot expect to receive the funds until August 1.”

Some organizations, however, don’t rely on the student activity fee. 

The College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Counseling and Psychological Services’ PRIDE, Psychological Research on Intersectionality, Diversity and Empowerment, program does not rely on the Student Activity Fee. PRIDE stands for Psychological Research on Intersectionality, Diversity and Empowerment.

“For now, the student activity fee does not affect our group since we did not apply for funding for the coming year,” Ed Wolf, a member of PRIDE  said.

As the fall semester comes, there’s no telling what comes with it for Georgia State’s student organizations.