Budget gives students option to opt out of organization, service fees

Budget gives students option to opt...

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Gov. Scott Walker's newly proposed budget gives University of Wisconsin students the ability to opt out of certain fees that support campus organizations and services.

College students are always looking to save some cash.

"I try not to eat out or spend money not on my meal plan,” UW-La Crosse freshman Catherine Daley said.

So, many students say the ability to opt out of fees for student organizations and services is tempting.

"Our tuition is already so high, I definitely don't want to be paying for something I don't support,” Daley said.

"I do think it’s tempting, and I think that's the problem with it,” senior Carly Juzwik said. “(Students) won’t realize the repercussions."

Some UW-La Crosse students and leaders argue that opting out of the fees just isn't worth the price.

"It's well beyond the classroom where our students are learning and growing,” Dean of Students Paula Knudson said.

Knudson argued the fees are important to maintain all the campus has to offer, from bus services to student government, whether students are involved in a particular activity or not.

"How do you know you want to pay for something if you haven't experienced it before?" she asked.

"The majority of students are involved in extracurricular activities,” UW-La Crosse Student Association President Jacob Schimmel said. “While you might not use every single one, if you don't pay into those, the stuff you do use probably won't be there after a period of time."

Schimmel is worried that even if a small portion of students opt out, it would cost the university.

"Maybe only 20 percent would opt out, but even that 20 percent is going to put organizations on the chopping block,” he said.

Some students say, however, that even if they wouldn't choose to opt out now, they appreciate the choice.

"People here really struggle with money,” junior Daniel Potter said. “Having that ability to opt out is more freedom for them to choose what they use their money for."

Knudson said, generally speaking, the university has slightly over $1 million in allocable funds, and the students determine where those funds go.

Knudson said that there are still unanswered questions on whether or not students could pick and choose which fees to opt out of, or if it's an all-or-nothing choice.

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