CAED Student Academic Fee Proposal

January 28, 2002 (Revised Feb. 4, 20 and 21, 2002)

1. Requested by: CAED Dean on behalf of the students and faculty in the departments of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

2. Effective Date of Fee: Fall Quarter of 2002.

3. Proposed Fee Increase:

$200 per student per quarter. The fee will be indexed to adjust for inflation/deflation based on the average of the Higher Education Price Index for the previous three years.

4. CAED Proposal Abstract:

This proposal presents the rationale for seeking an increase in the academic fee paid by students in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. A fee of $200 per quarter per student will be sought to support instructional programs in the college.

The College specific fee will be the same amount for all majors within the CAED. One-half of the fee amount ($100) will be subject to consultative review for potential modification in three years by the majors recommending approval in the 2002 student vote. Students enrolling in 6 or fewer units Fall, Winter or Spring Quarters (8 units or less Summer Quarter) would be required to pay 1/2 of the fee amount. The distribution of funds received through the College specific fee would be directed entirely to the departments by major. Through active, annual solicitation of proposals and initiatives, the College wide and departmental advisory committees will maintain the opportunity for re-distribution from departments to college centers and for the support of interdisciplinary courses and activities. Students votes will be tallied by major at the March balloting. A simple majority of all those voting in favor of the fee increase will be considered passage of the fee increase for all majors in the College. Should there be a failure to attain a simple majority for passage of all those voting, the simple majority for each respective department will determine whether or not the fee is enacted for students within that major.

5. Reasons for the Proposed Fee Increase:

The paramount reason for this proposal is to enable the CAED to keep its position as a national leader in the education of students for the environmental design professions and the construction industry. Our ability to maintain that position is under threat due to a lack of financial resources for our programs. Following are the key factors influencing our decision to seek an adjustment to the fee for students in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

The CAED has experienced extraordinary challenges in recent years in meeting its goal of providing the highest quality in its academic programs. This has been especially evident since the reductions in state funding allocations to the CSU in the early nineties (the California Post-Secondary Education Commission has documented a 15% decline in constant dollars per Full Time Equivalent Student in the CSU since 1986) and the loss of a funding system responsive to differences in program requirements. Simply stated, the funding received by the college has not kept pace with the need to meet student demand for instruction, sustain daily operations and support new instructional initiatives. This is compounded by the fact the whole of the university finds itself in the same position.

Of the several internal factors within the CAED contributing to this state of affairs, one stands out: our increasing lack of ability to keep the faculty/student ratio in labs and studios at a level expected by our external accreditation agencies and consistent with the need for one-on-one dialog between an instructor and an individual student in so many of our classes. This has been exacerbated by recent expanded enrollments required by the CSU system that has in no way been adequately compensated for by enrollment growth funding.

A trend toward increases in class size is becoming noticeable across all programs. To avoid a worsening in this trend, CAED departments have had to invest in additional faculty hires to cover the necessary additional class sections. This in turn has been at the expense of adequate investment in non-teaching personnel categories, particularly equipment: not just information technology but also basic items such as desks and stools for studios, labs and classrooms. The annual $57,000 state lottery allocation to the college is not only insufficient for our needs, but has been frequently tapped in recent years to cover year-end CAED budget deficits. Operations and Equipment (O&E) represents just 6% of our total approximately $8.5 million budget yet must cover a wide variety of essential items including technology and service center maintenance and upkeep. Departments and the college are becoming more dependent on non-state funding resources to supplement General Fund allocations for basic operations and equipment needs.

An additional consequence of this budgetary condition has been its impact on faculty. Against a background where required teaching loads in the CSU system are substantially higher than in comparable university systems elsewhere in the nation, the CAED lacks the flexibility to support any more than a tiny fraction of what is necessary to keep all faculty at the cutting edge of their fields.

The current situation is particularly critical. We estimate that additional college needs are in excess of a quarter of a million dollars just for instructional personnel starting as soon as this next academic year (FY 2002-3). Given our current enrollment projections and without supplementary funding, there could be as many as 200 WTUs of major-related instruction that may not be offered. This would mean that the approximately five (5) full-time instructors necessary to teach those 200 WTUs could not be hired. When the vital need for other essential operations such as equipment and new instructional initiatives is considered, an additional three quarters of a million dollars is necessary. It's important to keep in mind that this estimate assumes no decrease in the state-funded base allocation to the college that may occur as a result of cuts in the statewide higher education budget when it is announced in mid-summer 2002.

Up to this point, we have managed to avoid causing wide spread delays in student progress toward degree by maintaining access to core course offerings in students' majors. This has been accomplished through careful fiscal management and economies, faculty cooperation, valuable help from Cal Poly Plan $45 per quarter student fee-derived funds (currently funding three full-time faculty and a limited number of special classroom projects), and increased private giving to the college (the CAED's advancement efforts during the past five years have been particularly effective). However, this may change in response to the increased severity of pressures on the college budget unless additional funding sources can be developed in the immediate future. While Cal Poly's efforts to increase state funding levels and private support will be ongoing and intensive, an increase in student fees at a level acceptable to a majority of CAED students provides the only available opportunity to do this at the present time.

Current academic fees at Cal Poly are, on average, between one-half and two-thirds the fee levels at public universities included in a set of institutions across the nation that the CSU considers to be its peers and at other polytechnic universities that are regularly compared with Cal Poly. A comparison of annual tuition and fees at several other state supported universities has shown that, even with an increase of the scale proposed, the amount paid by CAED students will remain less than at those institutions.

We believe strongly that steps must be taken to guarantee the quality of a degree from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. This requires that students have access to high quality programs and state-of-the-art equipment and instructional technology. Without additional revenue, the quality of programs is at serious risk of declining.

1 The special Workforce Initiative funding approved by the State Legislature in 2000 was eliminated by the Governor from the FY2001-02 CSU budget. This source of special state funding was for programs producing graduates in areas considered key to California's economic future primarily in science, technology and engineering. The CAED received modest benefit from this fund in FY 2000-01 through its Architectural Engineering and Construction Management programs. However, as the state's overall budget picture worsens, it's not expected that Workforce Initiative funding will be restored in the foreseeable future.

6. Purpose of the Fee:

Fee revenues will be used exclusively to support the education of students majoring in the degree programs offered by the five departments in the CAED. Uses of the fee will include: hiring faculty and student assistants; purchasing, maintaining and repairing instructional equipment and information technology; and the support of instruction-related activities. It is anticipated that the fee will be used in a variety of specific ways by each department and that those uses may change from year to year. The process to be followed for distributing, monitoring and reviewing the actual expenditure of funds is described in Section 11.

7. Voting Tally:

In response to focus group suggestions to preserve departmental opportunity, students votes will be tallied by major at the March balloting. A simple majority of all those voting in favor of the fee increase will be considered passage for all majors in the College. Should there be a failure to attain a simple majority for passage of all those voting, the simple majority for each respective department will determine the recommendation whether or not to enact the fee for students within that major.

8. Process of Consultation to Date:

The preliminary intention to pursue a college-based fee increase was shared with members of the CAED Dean's Advisory Council at its biennial meeting at the college in September 2001. Further review and input from Council members and selected alumni will take place during February 2002.

The CAED dean and associate dean met with a steering committee comprised of students from the CAED Student Advisory Council (representing students from each department and CAED student clubs and organizations) in early November 2001 to describe the concept of the proposed college-based fee initiative and solicit input on the formulation of the CAED proposal and the likelihood of favorable passage. Additional meetings with the Council took place before the end of the 2001 Fall Quarter to solicit ideas for the use of the fee; to develop an appropriate process for consultation with students on a department-by-department basis prior to the fee vote; to develop an approach to determining an appropriate fee level; and to discuss how students might be involved in monitoring the distribution and expenditure of fee revenues in the event a vote for a college-based fee was positive.

The dean and associate dean met separately with focus groups of from 10 to 40 students from each of the five departments during January 2002 to gain further input on these issues. The primary inputs sought were related to fee level, distribution of revenue and voting procedures.

The dean and associate dean met separately with each of the five department faculties during January 2002 to inform them about the proposal, to seek their views and to ask for their advocacy with students.

The fee proposal has been discussed at weekly CAED Dean's/Department Heads' meetings during December 2001 and January 2002.

9. Revenue Estimate:

Students enrolling in 6 or fewer units Fall, Winter or Spring Quarters (8 units or less Summer
Quarter) would be required to pay 1/2 of the fee amount ($100).

Based on the Fall 2001 headcount of all majors within the CAED, the projected revenue from the fee would be 1700 students x $200 per quarter = $340,000 per quarter. Aggregated over three quarters, the total sum would represent approximately 12.75% of the current state-allocated annual base budget of the CAED.

10. Overview of the Anticipated Process to Inform Students of the Fee Increase Proposal:

Beginning in early November with a focus group formed from the CAED Student Council, students have been invited to discuss and help shape the CAED's fee proposal. It is anticipated that once the proposal has been reviewed by the Campus Fee Advisory Committee and approved by the President in early February, the following steps will be taken prior to referendum balloting in March to inform all CAED students about the details of the proposal to raise student fees within the College.

  • The College will prepare and distribute to all students, faculty and staff a summary statement covering the facts associated with the fee increase as well as responses to frequently asked questions. This information will be posted on the College web site.
  • The Dean, Associate Dean and Department Heads of the College will meet with as many student clubs and organizations as possible prior to balloting to provide information about the student fee increase.
  • Each department will develop and implement a communication process specific to their majors, in order to fully communicate the elements of the fee proposal to their students. This process is to include open forums coordinated and conducted by the department head and faculty.
  • The Dean and Associate Dean of the college will conduct two college-wide open forums.
  • The Dean and Associate Dean of the college will conduct an open forum in Sequoia Hall to help ensure that new CAED students are provided information about the fee proposal.
  • Further review will take place with the CAED Dean's Advisory Council and selected alumni.

11. Process to Include Student Input on the Distribution and Use of Funds and on Monitoring Their Expenditure:

There will be two levels of student participation used to assist in the determination of the expenditure of funds received from the fee increase: department and college. Each department will establish a consultative committee comprised of a majority of students to advise the department head in the use and prioritization of expenditure from this source. Students within each department will be responsible for determining and implementing the process for selecting students to serve on the advisory committee including the length of appointment. The department head will be responsible for naming any faculty or staff members to be included on the committee. The advisory committee will assist the department head in preparing the semi-annual and annual written report on the use of funds to the student body of the department and to the dean.

A student consultative committee consisting of five students will be elected annually by the CAED Student Council to advise the Dean in the use of funds from the fee increase that may be directed to the college by the departments for college-wide support services or interdisciplinary activity.

An annual and semi-annual summary report of all expenditures from these funds will be made available to all CAED students.

12. Fee Review and Re-Calibration:

Through the student consultative process in formulating this proposal, it has been determined that a portion (50%) of the student fee sought would be subject to review and potential re-calibration after a period of three years. Students within the majors that approved the March 2002 fee vote would be given the opportunity, through a new discussion, review and voting process, to recommend to the President changes in the fee amount within this $100 portion of the total $200 fee increase. As a result of a review of three years of expenditures from the student fee increase (AY 2002/03 through AY 2004/05) and the current budgeting/allocation situation, a recommendation to the President would be made to maintain, reduce or eliminate $100 of the total $200 student fee increase. This process would be repeated at three-year intervals.

Student consultative discussion in the formulation of this proposal has acknowledged that it is essential to establish a stable funding base through the student fee increase, in order to provide full opportunity for staffing changes and fundamental program support requirements such as technical equipment updating. Personnel hires to match critical instruction and support needs are particularly influenced by the ability to offer longer-term employment opportunities. Therefore to provide stability to meet student and program needs, 50% ($100) of the fee increase sought would not be subject to a review and re-calibration.

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