Letters from the Editor – Profit and Loss

Later this month, the student body (that’s you, our intended audience) will have the chance to vote for an increase to the ASUAF fee from $42 to $63 per semester. Though it’s tough to advocate for increased fee burden on students, this is a good idea that you should consider supporting. The increase will help your neighborhood student journalists here at the Sun Star continue improving as a news publication and laboratory environment–and all for around the cost of fancy coffee for a week at Arctic Java.

As students, we don’t have a voice in most fees–the administration leverages them unilaterally, with no way for us to push for repeal. Tuition at UAF is cheaper than many places in the US, but fees eat much of that cost advantage. Never step foot on the campus shuttle? It still costs you $15. CTC student who never makes it to main campus? You’re still charged $35 for access to Wood Center. And even if you’re a full-time student with no interest in sports, you’re paying $120 for the privilege of attending games whether you go or not.

Our student union, meanwhile, levies several fees of its own. But these are unique in a few ways. For one, you have a voice in their collection, application and potential repeal. They are controlled by students, and used to further the student good in ways that often go unnoticed or ignored. Club funding, travel grants, free copying, printing, coffee and legal counsel are all services offered by the student government from your fees; precious few people take advantage of them.

The Sun Star is one of the beneficiaries of the ASUAF fee and over this year we’ve put our savings to work in an effort to improve and expand the information and opportunities we provide to students. The biggest expense has been, beyond a doubt, student jobs; we employ 9 student employees and pay dozens of freelancers for their work. Over half of our budget is earmarked to pay students, who often earn more than they paid to ASUAF in the first place and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Voting for the fee increase will support ASUAF and most of its governance groups starting in academic year 2018. KSUA 91.5 FM, the Concert Board and our humble newspaper all stand to benefit from the measure. In our case, it will let us keep our staffing level high, which will benefit more students–with work experience and cold hard cash–than we’ve been able to in the past.

If you enjoy participation in clubs, listening to student radio or picking up a copy of the Sun Star from time to time, please consider voting in support of the fee increase when you see it on the ballot later this month.

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