USU aces legislative audit

According to a recent audit by state Legislature, USU is an excellent example to higher institutions of learning when it comes to handling student fees.”In contrast to what we found at the University of Utah,” the audit stated, “Utah State University has a significantly more structured student fee process.”Student fees are voted on by a group called the University Student Fee Board, which is made up entirely of students, except for James Morales, vice president for Student Services.”Each of the students (on the board) works with one of the fee-receiving areas, so whenever a fee comes to the board, it is considered and voted upon,” Morales said. “It acts as the voice for the larger student body.”Jason Russell, ASUSU student advocate vice president, said student fees are taken seriously, and each fee is analyzed concerning the purpose, structure, authority and reporting procedures. Fees are also reviewed annually, according to the audit, and are not allowed to increase automatically.The audit also states that USU’s structured student fee process provides transparency and accountability.USU’s policy requires monitoring to ensure funds are used for their intended purpose, that audit stated.”That’s what is beautiful at USU,” Morales said. “The things that students want are the things that students get. This is a wonderful thing. From the very beginning and all the way along it is being led by students. I think that is remarkable. It just goes to show that this (university) truly is not only student centered, but student driven.”The student fee board convenes each year, and representatives for each of the fee areas come together and review where student fees are collected from and where those funds are spent, in order to monitor them, Morales said.”Every year there is a student officer assigned to each fee, and they are responsible to meet with the administrator over the fee receiving area,” Russell said. “They fill out evaluation forms, review the budget, financial statements and then come up with a plan of action for the fee for the upcoming year. All of this is done before it is brought to the Student Fee Board in February for further evaluation.”The audit also said USU promotes accountability on spending by requiring a separate account to record fee income and expenditure.According to Morales, the student fees from USU come from 11 different areas. These include: activity, building, athletics, Aggie Shuttle, health services, computer labs, campus recreation, library, music and theater, Aggie bikes, and sustainability (Blue Goes Green) fees.

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