BY KEVIN STEELE —
The two percent drop in enrollment at William Paterson University is creating problems that are trickling down to the Student Government Association, and ultimately effecting current students.
Although freshman enrollment has risen since last year, transfer student enrollment has taken a hit. As a result, the amount of money the SGA is getting has declined. Every student who attends WPU pays a $62 student activities fee; fewer students means less money.
Because of the decline, the SGA received about $70,000 less than what was budgeted during the 2016-2017 school year; $1,050,000 was budgeted at the start of the year, but student fees eventually only provided $979,076. Ultimately, however, the SGA only needed $33,905 out of the $70,000. This money is taken from a place called the “reserves.”
The reserves is where money that isn’t used one year is rolled over for the next. The total amount that was in the reserves at the end of the 2016 fiscal year was $500,000, according to Jaime Oyola, the financial manager for the SGA. When there is a shortfall in student fees, money is borrowed from the reserves if necessary. However, the reason why this is not a first option, is because it’s not easy to get the money back from the reserves.
“If it goes to the reserves we have to go through an entirely long process to get it out. We have to convince the university to let us have it back again,” said Nejesea Brown, the executive vice president of the SGA.
Brown says there were discussions in the SGA of raising the student activities fee. This will benefit the SGA, she said, but students would have to pay more, which is a concern for her.
Outreach to high schools
Brianna Egers, president of the SGA, believes that shining a light on the university will help bring in more students.
“We plan on going to visit [high] schools to get them exposed not only to William Paterson, but to the SGA,” Egers said. “We did something like that last year and it worked out really well.
“If we can help admissions with their efforts, then it might be able to give good exposure to the school so that more people would be interested in coming.”
There are some noticeable clubs/organizations that did not receive a funding increase during the 2016-2017 school year due to the fall in enrollment.
Fewer funding increases
“SAPB, Greek Senate, and Club sports present to SGA if they want more funding, and why they want more funding,” Oyola said. “How can we continue giving funding if we know we’re going to be at a shortfall? So, they didn’t get a funding increase.”
This issue with enrollment was addressed by WPU President Kathleen Waldron during her fall address to the faculty at the beginning of the semester.
“We know that a two percent decrease is certainly a disappointment, and we’ll have to make up some of those numbers in the spring,” Waldron said.
Inevitably, the money that is collected from the student activities fee goes to clubs and toward events that are put on for the student’s enjoyment. For this reason, Jackeine Reyes, vice president of allocations, wants students to take advantage of the events that take place on campus.
“The student activities fee that you pay is going to all these events,” Reyes said. “So I strongly encourage students to go to them, even if it’s for two seconds. That’s your money that’s being used.”