The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Student government votes down fee increase

Sia DeyKoontz
Student senator Oliver Ehmann, a senior political science major, expresses his feelings towards the talent student award fee increase proposal to student government March 27, 2024, at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union in the Arcola Tuscola Room on Eastern’s campus. The proposal requests an increase of 86 cents from $21.82 to $22.68. This fee is charged for every credit hour, not exceeding a maximum amount of twelve credit hours. Matt Bierman said in his presentation more than half of the collected fees go toward student athletes without athletic scholarships.

Despite approving a raise in tuition rates, EIU’s student government denied a bill to raise the grant-in-aid fee which covers tuition and talented student awards.

The student senate’s meeting on March 27 was largely dedicated to the evaluation of budget proposals and adjustment of student fees.

Subsequently, the student senate voted against the talented student award increase. The senate voted against the bill with a vote of four yes’s, 11 no’s and two abstentions.

Currently, full-time students pay $261.84 per semester towards TSA. With the proposed increase, that price would raise by $10.35 to $272.16. Of Eastern’s enrollment, more than half of students are full time.

Of the students who receive those awards, Vice President for Business Affairs Matt Bierman said around 78.8% of the fees go toward non-scholarship athletes. Only some financial aid is able to cover tuition, and, in some cases, TSA can help cover housing charges.

Student senator Oliver Ehmann was the first to express disapproval for the bill. He was apprehensive about students having to pay a fee that did not benefit most of them directly.

Bierman explained that the fee would compel and enable talented students throughout various departments including athletics and arts to attend EIU at a lower cost.

The factors for being chosen involve activity in student leadership, academic standing, participation in extracurricular activities and community service. Winners are declared above average students, according to the TSA application site.

Senators expressed that they were uncomfortable supporting an increased fee that mainly supports student athletes in concurrence with supporting the raise of the athletics and operations fee and the Lantz Complex and O’Brien Field operations fee.

Carlos Rodriguez, student vice president of academic affairs, said he worried that the grant-in-aid fee appeared deceptive, as it is largely allocated to student athletes. He and other members expressed that the students they know who are struggling to pay their tuition bills are largely humanities and liberal arts students.

Student government withheld their support for the bill on the grounds that they would like to see the money allocated to talented students with more respect to their academic accomplishments rather than athletic prowess.

Further, senators Ehmann and Payton Liggins, a freshman sports media relations major, shared that they were dissatisfied with the structure of the awards going to both outstanding athletes and outstanding students. They argued that the two areas are so vastly different that they should belong in different budget areas.

Junior student senator Ameenah Morris dissented, saying that the fee already exists and that it should be raised because all of those students could stand to benefit from it. Student senators wanted to see an increase in aid for academically talented students.

If the fee were to increase, as proposed by Bierman, the total a student would pay over the course of eight billing cycles, four semesters, would be $2,177.28. Ultimately, if the bill were to have passed, students would have paid $82.56 more than they are paying at present.

Bierman will be taking the bill back to the department of business affairs to be reevaluated and eventually, presented to the board of trustees for ultimate approval or denial. The student government executive vice president, August Biernbaum– a senior political science major, will be representing the student senate’s interests at the board of trustees meeting.

The senate approved a shuttle bus fee increase from 86 cents to $1. The panther shuttle will be getting two new buses at the end of April. There will still be two buses on the route.

One of the buses will be able to accommodate four less students than the buses currently because of EIU’s difficulty finding drivers with a commercial drivers license. The raise in the shuttle bus fee will enable EIU to pay drivers higher wages.

The student senate also approved $25,000 budget allocation to the student life office, which houses and oversees the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Black Student Union and Latin America Student Organization, which is funded by the student activity fee.

Career Services also was approved $25,000 to fund Handshake, the online software utilized by their office to maintain the salaries of the new career peers, student service workers that help with campus marketing, resume drop-in hours and individual resumes and cover letter appointments.

The student senate allocated $60,000 to RSO funding for the 2024-2025 academic year.

They, with a unanimous vote, decided to raise tuition 2.5% for all incoming students. This would not affect current students because of EIU’s tuition policy that cements tuition costs when students enroll for a four-year period.


Veronica Gipson can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Veronica Gipson, Student Government Reporter
Veronica Gipson is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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