OSD to reconsider activity fees
AUC Vice President for Finance Fouad Sayess will propose an adjustment to the Student Activity Fee, increasing the amount of funding extra curricular activities receive.
Sayess told The Caravan that this comes after he received many complaints from student clubs. The adjustment would entail splitting the fee into two categories: a Student Activity Fee and a Student Services Fee.
Amr Fathy, Speaker of the Student Senate, told The Caravan that he disagrees with the way the university currently allocates funds towards student activities.
"I believe that AUC should allocate more money towards funding the student government; clubs and conferences, student associations; and the press board," said Student Senate Speaker, Amr Fathy.
Fathy added that the Senate has tasked its newly elected Clubs and Conferences Committee to draft a proposal asking for more funding towards extracurricular activities.
Sayess said that he would also be meeting with the Vice President for Student Affairs, Ashraf El Fiqi, on Wednesday to discuss an increase in the budget allocated toward student clubs.
Currently, each undergraduate student pays EGP 980 in Student Activities Fees every semester while graduate students pay EGP 480. The fee, however, increases annually.
According to Sayess, the total amount of student activity fees collected last year was approximately EGP 10 million, seven million of which went to the Office of Student Development, The Caravan, the athletics department, the First Year Experience Program, and academic clubs. Sayess added that the seven million was not enough and so the university allocated an extra EGP 2.8 million as "institutional support."
"The OSD received EGP 3.1 million [from the EGP 7 million]," he said. Amr El Khouly, Events Coordinator in the OSD, told The Caravan that the office receives EGP 4 million, but that "more than fifty percent of this sum is actually depreciation [non-cash] cost of the spaces utilized by the student activities such as practice halls, lounges, SU offices [and so on]."
He added that the EGP 4 million also includes the salaries of all OSD staff and its running costs. A sum of EGP 500,000 goes to support student clubs, conferences, community service and cultural programs.
"The remainder of the money goes back to the university each year," said El Khouly.
The rest of the Student Activity Fees, EGP 3 million, is divided according to provisions laid out in the student constitution. According to the constitution, 35 percent goes to the Student Union, 15 percent to the press board, 20 percent to student associations and 30 percent to student clubs and organizations.
"Students have a [are right in] requesting that their share of the services and activities fees [is increased] to 50 percent," said El Khouly.
According to Fathy, since the OSD is one of the offices with the least costs, student activities should receive more of the money allocated to the office.
"The essence of AUC lies in its student life, especially the student activities. This is truly what distinguishes AUC from any other Egyptian university, not education, but its Activities," he said. Sayess feels that his solution would achieve more transparency as well as guarantee more money for student activities.
"Separating the student activity fees from the student services fees in the billing will make everything more clear and transparent," he said.
Both decisions will be made in April after being presented to the university cabinet.