S&A budget funds many things at Highline

By Aysha Edmonds - Staff Reporter

Next time you need a caffeine fix between classes and Starbucks is too far, thank your lucky stars your tuition payment makes the Student Union possible.

The Student Union: good for your daily dose of coffee; books for class; a bite to eat, or just a warm place to hang out. Part of your tuition is paying off the mortgage for Building 8.

This year $300,000 from student fees will go towards paying off the Student Union building.

Each quarter, 10 percent of student tuition goes into the Service and Activities budget, which in addition to the Student Union payments also funds clubs, keeps student athletes dribbling, spiking and slicing, and even pays for the newspaper you are holding in your hands.

All students pay into the fund, with the exception of Running Start and International students. Still, it amounts to big bucks for the S&A budget - about $3.2 million worth.

And that's where Student Government comes in. Your peers get to decide how that money is spent.

Overseeing the process is student Chloe Zabek the community budget coordinator for Student Government, one of nine people who serve on the budget committee. Six of whom are students.

Having students serving on the committee, gives a true representation of student perspective on campus, she said.

"The committee truly represents the diversity of the student body," Zabek said.

And this is not your run-of-the-mill committee either, she said.

"Highline has a very unique and different way of allocating funds," Zabek said.

Unlike most colleges, Highline does not automatically allocate money to programs based off of a set percentage.

Each February, clubs and programs submit budget specific requests that are run through the budget committee and then through the Board of Trustees for official approval, Zabek said.

Despite a new round of requests each year, little ever changes. Only a small handful of programs at Highline are newly established.

"Most of these budgets have been established for years," said Marta Reeves, program coordinator for the Center for Leadership and Service (Student Government).

Student Government stays out of debt by not over-funding programs, and only allocates exactly what is in the budget, Reeves said. Whatever money that is left over, is then rolled over into the next-year's fund.

There hasn't been much fluctuation in the budget from year-to-year, it stays fairly consistent, Reeves said.

Since funds are coming from a percent of student tuition, the amount is dependent on student enrollment.

Some major S&A budget allocations are: student athletics about $193,000, MESA $44,537, and ethnic cultural programs $52,500.

The S&A budget is also funding $1.25 million for upcoming capital projects that are still in the works. This includes creating a covered entry plaza to the entrance of Building 6. 

Valencia continues to encourage students to take advantage and get involved in all of the extracurricular programs Highline has to offer.

Students wanting to get involved, can stop by the third floor of the Student Union. 

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