The university is considering adding a new student fee aimed exclusively at the University Health Center.
The Health Center currently gets its funding from the Student Service Fee that is collected as part of student tuition at the start of each semester. Student Government Association President Helena L. Banks said the Health Center is becoming a drain on the rest of the services the fee is supposed to support.
“I’m on the student service committee, and the Health Center takes a big chunk out of the fees going to other organizations,” Banks said.
Banks said Vice President of Student Services Thelma Douglass told her SHSU was considering implementing a Health Center fee before the annual Board of Regents meeting in February. The Board had previously set a limit for the amount a university could charge for health services, and SHSU was considering adopting the new fee to lessen the burden on the Student Service Fee.
Banks said her committee decided to present the proposal to the SGA.
The university is considering adding a $30 annual fee to pay for the Health Center, split up into payments of $15 each semester.
“The $30 they’re asking for would put the Health Center on a more even playing field,” Banks said. “We would be able to hire a full time physician, and more services would be offered at the Health Center.”
The Health Center currently does not have a permanent doctor on hand, but remains the location where many students go in order to receive medicine and medical help.
SGA Secretary Jason Plotkin said with the new fee the university would be able to help further lower the price of pharmaceutical medication. Also, it would help fund renovations to the center so that it could provide more services to the student body.
Banks said the need to renovate the Health Center is an important reason for creating a separate fee for the department.
“If we took money to improve the Health Center out of the Student Service Fees, it would bankrupt it and no organizations would be able to get money,” Banks said.
Plotkin said he supports allowing the bill to go through the SGA so that students will be able to voice their opinions on the issue.
“By presenting the fee through legislation, the senators vote will be representative of their constituents, and hopefully students, if they have issue with the fee, will contact their senators so their voice will be heard,” Plotkin said.
Plotkin said he urges students who support or oppose the bill to contact their SGA senators in order that their opinions will be heard.
Banks said she supports the bill and thinks that it would greatly increase the abilities of the University Health Center.
“With this fee, you would see a change for the better in the Health Center,” Banks said.
The issue is still under consideration and no date has yet been set on when the fee bill will go through SGA legislation.