One step at a time

Last semester, students voted and approved a measure to increase the student health fee, which hasn’t gone up since 1998.

However, the Los Angeles Community College District has yet to implement the measure, which has left some faculty members upset.

Director of the Health Center Beth Benne said the Student Health Center is currently in a deficit, and that raising the student health fee would provide much needed services for students. 

“We can help these kids, we can do this. But we can’t do it without money,” Benne said. “It’s frustrating that this process of raising the fee is so slow.”

Vice Chancellor of Educational Programs and Institutional Effectiveness Ryan Cornner said the district is in favor of raising the student health fee too, but doing so is a lengthy process.

“The health fee is a board approved fee,” Cornner said. “As a board approved fee, what we have to do is go through the consultation process to make sure that the entire district addresses the fee the way it needs to be addressed.”

Cornner said that before the fee is brought to the board, it must be discussed by the Student Affairs Committee (SAC). He also mentioned that raising the health fee presents several problems. 

“One of the problems with the revenue that comes in is that not all the fees are collected,” Cornner said. “There is a significant group of students that don’t actually pay their fees.” 

Corrner said once the overall analysis of the fee has been completed, the next step is to coordinate with the colleges in the district to see what they would use the money for, which might take between four-to-five months.

“In anticipation that everything goes well, we’ll likely be bringing a recommendation in early spring and implementation in fall 2020,” Cornner said. 

ATF Chapter President Bryan Walsh suggested that the district triage money to help cover the health center in the meantime. 

However, an allocation of funds is an issue that has to be taken up with the budget committee, according to Cornner.

“[The budget committee] controls the allocation of funding that goes through the colleges. They have made recommendations in the past for line-item issues,” Cornner said. “Believe me, it’s something that can be discussed.”

Benne said the health center intends to use the increased fees to hire a full-time psychologist and to increase hours of operation.