Students should be able to expect a detailed invoice when tuition’s due.
Each full-time matriculated student at Temple pays $295 as part of the University Services Fee. Out of that lump sum, $45 dollars is allocated to the General Activities Fee.
The GAF is collected each semester and distributed to “umbrella organizations,” which are put in charge of distributing the money among smaller organizations. This year, that number totaled approximately more than $2.5 million, as reported today in “Officials decline to break down GAF allocations,” Page 1.
It’s no secret that university organizations need money to operate, and it’s a perfectly acceptable practice for those organizations to receive funding from the university through student tuition. After all, students comprise the majority of those who benefit from such organizations.
Still, the university will not disclose a breakdown of how the GAF money is used. And not only that – there isn’t even a policy that prohibits the university from doing so. It’s simply “university practice,” as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Stephanie Ives told The Temple News.
When it comes to student dollars – especially during a time when the university is fighting for funding in Harrisburg, Pa. – the university should adopt a more formal practice of transparency.
The Temple News would be foolish to chastise the university for sending money where money is truly needed. But even if administrators think disclosing GAF allocations could cause tension among university organizations, perhaps administrators should start putting their money where their mouth is and carefully prioritize their transparency battles.
It’s doubtful that administrators would sign off on a check for their utility bills without getting a breakdown of what exactly their money was being used for. It’s simply logical, responsible spending.
Students should not be expected to blindly transfer their tuition to the Bursar’s Office.
It’s neither surprising nor uncommon for administrators to be tight lipped about cash. But if they want students on their side at the Capitol, they’re going to have to make some political sacrifices within the university’s own politics.