Understanding the distribution of student activity fees at GS

Ian Leonard

The price of higher education has long been a hotly debated topic in the U.S., and Georgia Southern University is no exception. Just a few weeks ago on Sep. 5, students spent hours waiting outside of the financial aid office to secure aid before the 2017 deadline.

Student activity fees here at Georgia Southern can go towards a number of different departments within GS.

Things like Campus Recreation and Intramurals (CRI), jazz band, The Multicultural Student Center, the radio station, SGA and many others receive funds from the university through student activity fees.

Even commencement, honors day, and fraternity and sorority life are funded through these fees.

Over the past three years GS has spent over ten million dollars worth of student activity fees in these areas. CRI alone has received $3,506,240 worth of that funding, nearly 32 percent of all these student activity fees spent the past three years, according to documents retrieved from the university.

For many of these programs, student activity fees are the only source of funding they may receive. One such department, CRI, is entirely reliant on these funds in order to operate, according to, Gene Sherry an executive director of CRI.

Although CRI has received the largest amount of funding from these fees over the past three years, Sherry argues the amount is necessary.

“The state funds some positions around campus. They won’t fund recreation.” Sherry said. “There are certain things that they view as not academic oriented, which is why it has to be the burden on student fees.”

Sherry also pointed out that a large amount of the funding goes towards professional and student staff members for CRI.

“One of the things that’s a little misleading in the numbers per se, is that if you did a deeper dive a big portion of those dollars, almost half, are going to full time staff,” Sherry said. “[Another] decent portion we spend money on is for student employees.”

Some other destinations for these fees include the museum, radio station, Student Media and the SGA. GS has also budgeted over $150,000 to Music Performance, Opera theatre and Jazz band for fiscal year 2017, according to the documents retrieved from the university.

Some students think that the student fees, while necessary, could be used for more resources that are utilized by more students on campus.

“I feel like that should be to help help students,” Traez Moses, freshman psychology major said. “They should of a survey of what [students] do use and put more money towards that.”

Victoria Spitler, senior finance and economics major, believes that the student fees are necessary to maintain certain aspects of life for students.

“I feel like the majority of fees could be put towards things on campus every student uses,” Spitler said. “If we didn’t pay for [these services], they wouldn’t exist. I personally don’t participate in intramurals but it’s nice knowing it’s an option.”