GFAC expands with the Graduate Student Association

By Ryan Bonds

Paying for college is expensive, costing more than $5,000 per semester to attend Cleveland State University full time. But, tacked on to the tuition bill are fees and questions of where the fees go and what do they do.
The General Fee Advisory Committee, or GFAC, determines where a part of the general fee is going. The fee is $55.40 per credit hour and it is a part of student fees each semester.

GFAC has a major say in what organizations and student groups that money funds.

Shannon J. Greybar Milliken Ed.D., the assistant vice president of student affairs, works with GFAC to see which organizations should be voting in the committee.

The Board of Elections (BOE), Campus Activities Board (CAB), The Cauldron, The Gavel, Greek Council, The Judicial Board, Sport Club Council, The Student Bar Association (SBA), Student Government Association (SGA), Viking Expeditions, The Vindicator, WCSB, Whiskey Island Magazine, The Department of Student Life and a Faculty Senate representative are all voting members of GFAC. This number, however, could be changing in the coming months.

“We’ve been really trying to examine if our bylaws needed to be up to date, so we updated them in summer of 2016 in some ways,” Greybar Milliken said. “We are still having a conversation of who are the members, which groups are here, are these the right groups with people who aren’t here.”

The Graduate Student Association became a GFAC member this spring after the GFAC members voted to include it.

According to Greybar Milliken, some organizations get more or less money based on the number of students affected by the program.

After GFAC meetings—which can revolve around changing the amount of money specific organizations receive, or if another organization should be aided by university funding—the recommendations go to Boyd Yarbrough, vice president of student affairs. Yarbrough’s job, among others, is to approve or deny the recommendations of the GFAC majority vote.

Not all the money from the general fee goes to GFAC for distribution. Greybar Milliken said GFAC receives 7 percent of the overall fee money and the majority of general fund money goes to athletics and is never seen by GFAC organizations.

“In order to stay in good standing with GFAC, [student organizations] have to meet certain criteria and do certain things,” Greybar Milliken said. “There is an annual report due every spring. We use the rubric to get new members because there is obviously an interest from student groups that would like to get permanent funding,”
“I’ve been really trying to manage the dialogue,” Greybar Milliken continued. “And have the dialogue be internal of who is at the table, who is not, are the right people at the table, are there groups that are missing?”

The Graduate Student Association has not officially been added to GFAC by Yarbrough, so there is a chance no changes will occur in the number of included organizations.

There has been an evolution over the past several years about what constitutes being a fit for GFAC, according to Greybar Milliken. Certain organizations have altered their approach in showing how they affect the school on a numbers basis.

Since Greybar Milliken took her position as assistant vice president of student affairs, an effort to be more communicative about the number of students at specific events has taken place.

“Organizations have to demonstrate attendance; CAB [Campus Activities Board] is an example because they started to track attendance. Three or four years ago students didn’t have to swipe their cards when attending a CAB event but now they do to make sure somebody is a student before they get the benefit,” Greybar Milliken said.

“It also helps us track how many people came to this event, how many of them are graduate students and how many are commuter students,” she continued. “We aren’t looking for individual names, but we’re looking to see who is that student fee money impacting. We want it to reach the largest number of students.”
The consistency, Greybar Milliken explained, is part of the reason it is a rare occurrence for GFAC to expand.

At the present date, there are 15 voting members, not including the Graduate Student Association.
GFAC meets on the final Friday of every month and meetings are open to the public, students included.




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