Survey Shows SSU Students Oppose Fee Increase and Want More Classes

Sonoma State University Student Survey Report

April 1, 2011
The Fee Increase for a New Student Center

Abstract: SSU students oppose the $300 fee increase by a ratio of 4-1. Over 2000 students would have a major problem paying the increase and some 400 students would be forced to drop out. Students strongly support increasing class offerings as the number one priority for funding and believe that the SSU administration should raise the money for building the new student center without raising student fees.

Methods: A survey instrument regarding the student center fee increase was developed and tested in Investigative Sociology class Fridays 9-12:40 during the Spring 2011 semester. Students from the class passed out the survey at various locations on campus for two weeks prior to April 1, 2011. A total of 333 surveys were received representing a convenience sample of 4.2% of the entire SSU student population.

Question: Should SSU Students have to pay $300 more in fees per year for the next thirty years to fund the proposed student center? (Approximately—$2.4 million annually)

Results: Yes: 17 5%
No: 265 79.5%
Don’t Know: 51 15.5%

Question: What are the most important financial needs on campus

Results:
Funding for a new student center 25 7.5%
Funding for Outreach Programs 29 8.7%
Funding for Improved parking and roadways 19 5.7%
Funding for more classes 204 61.0%
Funding for more Athletic programs 26 7.8%
No Response 30 9.0%

Question: A $300 fee increase towards finishing my college degree will be:

Not Problem 47 14%
A Small Problem 64 19%
Moderate Problem 121 36%
Major Problem 86 26%
Force me to drop out 15 5%

Question: Should the SSU Administration find other income sources to fund the student center?

Results:

Yes 225 67%
No 45 13%
Don’t Know 49 15%
No Response 14 4%

Analysis:

From the survey, taken from March 15 to April 1, it is clear that students at SSU are very concerned about fee increases and will likely vote overwhelmingly (4-1) against the proposed fee increase.

It is equally evident that SSU student’s number one priority for campus spending is to add more classes to the semester schedules.

Of significance from the survey results is that some 400 students would likely be forced to drop out, and that some 2,080 students would have a major financial problem if a $300 fee increase was implemented.

The survey also indicates that students think that the SSU administration should be able to raise the funding for a new student center without increasing campus fees. We believe that this is true given the campus’s ability to raise $120 million for the Green Music Center over the past decade.

Our confidence in the accuracy of this survey is high given that the survey (N-333) is reflective of the overall student populations at SSU in terms of gender (36.9% male and 63% female compared to actual 67% female—33% male) and close on ethnicity with white at 54% compared to actual of 67%. Therefore we believe that the survey is an fairly accurate overall summary of the SSU campus feelings at this time. The actual vote on the fee increase is scheduled for April 11-13. The final results will reflect whom actually votes in the electoral process, however a large turnout will undoubtedly result in a no vote on the fee increase.

For Information Contact: Peter Phillips, Professor Sociology, 664-2588, peter.phillips@sonoma.edu

Student Researchers: Louie Pomerantz, Brittney Gorman, Evan Warner
Danielle Frisk, Gabriela Powell-Cervantes, and teaching assistant: Alma Delia Mariel

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