Wellness Center Budget Funded by Fee Increase for Students

By Cedric Nsilo-Swai

After settling up with the bursar, students at Worcester State will have anywhere from $20,000 (in state) to almost $27,000 (out of state) spent toward their future success through higher education. But where does the money actually go and how does it contribute to the budget?

WSU students can pay from $970 (in-state) to $7,050 (non-state or regional) for tuition alone. An additional $8,232 is charged in fees that provide for student-activities, health services, and capital improvement. Students who live on choose to live on campus could pay an additional $7,485 (Dowden) to $8,185 (Wasylean) along with board fees, health insurance, and meal plans.

And now, according to the budget report for 2017, a $345 per year increase for general fees has been approved and is effective this year. The Wellness Center’s budget has increased by $1.2 million dollars, creating funding gaps that need to be filled by other means. As a solution, a $115 increase per year to student fees will provide “an expansion of offerings with regard to fitness and recreational programming,” as stated by Kathleen Eichelroth, Vice President for Administration and Finance, in the public 2017 Budget opening statement.

WSU receives funds from four main sources: 58 percent of the budget comes from internal funds, which take the form of nine trust funds (donations, fundraisers, and any initiatives that produce revenue); 9 percent comes from state-funded employee benefits; 8 percent comes from state and federally sourced student financial aid; and 25 percent from state appropriations which are public funds designated for operating a college (that’s tax money).

The funding of individual departments is determined through a process called “reconciliation,” which is going on right now, according to Anisa Hoxha, Director of Budget, Planning, and Policy development. Every single division provides a prioritized list of items for the budget to be used on and brings this list to meetings with the deans in order to go through a vetting process. Afterwards, the list is brought to the provost, and upon approval it goes to the president and vice-president’s offices for review. Finally, there is a vote to see which items on the lists can benefit the university mainly in terms of providing revenue.

Hoxha explained that the additional $230 increase will fund collective bargaining, or employee increases and incentives, which students will have to provide due to the Commonwealth not providing that funding.

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