Student Union Facility Fee Description
The Student Union Facility Fee is a semester-based fee assessed to all students on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University. The fee will directly fund construction and building renewal costs of the new Ohio Union. Construction costs for the $118 million project have also been funded through University central funds, Office of Student Life reserves, Ohio Union Reserves, contract agreements and private donations. Students began paying the fee when the Ohio Union opened in Spring Quarter 2010.
The Student Union Facility Fee need is based on the costs of construction and building renewal is $74.40 per semester per student for fulltime students, with slight variations depending on enrollment status. The fee will be reviewed annually and adjusted, if necessary, depending on economic factors. Through financial support from Coca-Cola, students will be charged a reduced fee, $25-$27, for the 2010 Spring and Summer Quarters. Continuing support from Coca Cola will allow the fee to remain under the base level of $63 per quarter for several years. The fee will increase only to $50-$51 per quarter beginning Autumn 2010, and will remain at the level through Summer 2011. Future quarterly fee increases are not expected to exceed $3 annually (on quarter system) or $5 per year (on a semester system), and may even be less. Once the fee reaches the base level of $63 per quarter, annual adjustments will be considerably lower based only on inflationary adjustments to cover renewal needs.
What does the fee actually fund?
The Student Union Facility Fee funds a portion of the $118 million construction of the new Ohio Union and covers future building renewals, meaning that the future building needs can be quickly addressed to keep the facility in conditions that best support student needs. While the fee does not fund actual programs inside the Ohio Union, it provides unique event and meeting spaces, a variety of dining options and spaces specifically for students. The new Ohio Union offers the Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom, one of the largest event spaces in central Ohio, a performance hall, the U.S. Bank Conference Theater, more than 30 meeting rooms, designated student organization space including student organization offices, customized student lounge space and seven dining options. Most meeting rooms are free to student organizations and other rooms are given at a discount.
Because students pay a fee, there are benefits beyond access to the spaces mentioned above. Special catering menus that offer a variety of affordable options have been developed exclusively for student organizations. The Center for Student Leadership and Service, housed in the Ohio Union, features small group meeting rooms that any student is able to reserve.
Who pays the fee?
All enrolled students (both part-time and full-time; undergraduate, graduate and professional) at the Columbus Campus of The Ohio State University pay the Student Union Facility Fee.
Who approved the implementation of the fee?
The three student governments appealed to the Board of Trustees, who approved the fee structure in 2009.
Has there always been a Student Union Facility Fee?
The history of a student union fee dates back to 1947. At that time, two unions existed: The Men’s Union (now Enarson Hall) and the Women’s Union (Pomerene Hall). The students came together to petition for the construction of a new student union for all students. At that time, students paid a $5 quarterly fee, which when adjusted for inflation is only slightly less than today’s fee. Upon final payment of the original building’s construction costs, the fee was redirected to cover other University costs.
Is the Student Union Facility Fee different from the Student Activity Fee?
Yes. The Student Union Facility Fee solely funds the costs associated with the construction and renewal of the Ohio Union. The Student Activity Fee is a separate fee with funds allocated through the Council on Student Affairs, a University Senate sub-committee and administered by the staff of the Ohio Union. The Student Activity Fee funds major campus events planned by the Ohio Union Activities Board, student organizations, student governments, the Discount Ticket Program (D-Tix) and Buck-i-Serv (The Alternative Service Break Program). To learn more about the Student Activity Fee, visit http://ohiounion.osu.edu/get_involved/student_activity_fee.
Why did we build a new Ohio Union?
When the ‘old’ Ohio Union opened in 1951, it was considered one of the largest and best student unions in the country. For more than 50 years, the Ohio Union hosted significant campus events, long-standing Buckeye traditions and the making of more memories than can be counted. As the years rolled, however, the building became outdated and was unable to respond to the changing needs of students. For example, meeting space to accommodate student organizations did not exist and the building operated with 1951 mechanical units that did not provide for adequate heating, cooling and ventilation.
A feasibility study was conducted to evaluate three possibilities, including renovation of the existing structure, an addition to the existing structure, or the construction of a new building. After consultation with students, faculty and staff, it was determined that a new Ohio Union was in the best interests of the University and its students. Throughout the planning, construction and opening of the building, students have been actively involved in the decision-making process.