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Where Does Your Money Go?

Every year, you pay over $1,300 in student life fees. You’re probably wondering where this money ends up. Bwog has already determined that most of it doesn’t go to Lerner Pub, ponchos, or the New York Times. So what does it go to? Thanks to CCSC all of our wonderful student councils, the administration has agreed to release a full breakdown of this year’s fee.

Turns out you’re mostly paying for Athletics and CUIT. Some money also goes to CCE, printing services (you didn’t think those 100 sheets/week were free, did you?), housing. But those of you who enjoy “cross-cutting multi-school activities” will probably be disappointed; turns out only $2 of your $1,396 fee goes to those.

The following is a breakdown of the 2012 -2013 Student Life Fee:

Lerner – $62
Student Activity – $216
Cross-Cutting Multi-School Activities – $2
House Fee – $220
Athletics – $390
Career Services – $66
Information Technology – $376
Printing – $64
Student Life Fee Total – $1,396

Along with the breakdown above, Shollenberger sent along a detailed summary of exactly what service improvements the fee funded. Accountability!

How Student Life Fees Were Spent in 2011-2012
During the 2011-2012 academic year, the Student Life Fee annual percentage increase was 2.7 percent. We would like to share the following details about how the Student Life Fee was utilized, including enhancements and student benefits:

Student Affairs
Student Affairs develops programs and services that foster community, ensure a respectful and inclusive environment, and enrich the overall student experience at Columbia. A portion of the Student Life Fee funds the following areas:

  • The Fee is used to support two critical offices within Student Affairs: the Office of Residential Programs and the Office of Judicial Affairs. The funds are used to support basic operational increase associated with providing services to the entire undergraduate community which include ongoing support for “Advocate”, the electronic system used by Judicial Affairs and Residential Program.
  • The Office of Residential Programs continues to enhance its programming efforts for students, with particular respect to alcohol and drug education, the Faculty-in-Residence program, and the alumni series sponsored by the Dean-in-Residence. Residential Programs also provides emergency response and highly specialized services to students and families 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Student Activities
Student Activities is committed to helping students enhance leadership skills and to explore the co-curricular opportunities available at Columbia. A portion of the Student Life Fee funds the following areas:

  • The Student Activities Fee directly funds undergraduate student councils and their respective classes, governing boards, and common funds and operational initiatives. Student Activities funds were used to support the student organizational cost increases for such items as catering, room rentals, and costs associated with the HR reclassification of instructors for club sports and other student organizations.
  • The Cross-Cutting Multi-School Activities Fee funds the Interschool Governing Board. The Board was created by the University Senate to represent and serve the needs of Columbia University student organizations whose mission is interschool in nature and whose membership includes students from various schools in the University, including graduate students.

Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education is committed to serving the University Community, and ensuring continual access to our programs for all students. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education utilizes revenue from the student term bill to fund many initiatives and programs to better serve the Columbia student community.

  • The department has enhanced Dodge Fitness Center, intramurals and club sports, as well as maintaining free admission to athletics contests and increasing contest-related promotions for students.
  • The department provides free access to the Dodge Fitness Center for all students who pay the Student-Access Fee on their term bill.
  • The department invested funds in facility operations at the Dodge Fitness Center to expand operating hours, increase daily facilities maintenance, and lease new state-of-the-art fitness equipment (every two years).
  • The department now features a dedicated director of intramurals and club sports. Previously, management of this area fell to an individual with dual-responsibilities for facilities operations.
  • The department now sponsors more annual intramural competitions than in previous years. The number of participants in our club sports program (through 2010-11) has increased by 77% since 2003-04. The number of participants in our intramurals program (through 2010-11) has increased by 36% since 2003-04.
  • Funds from the Student Term Bill enable the department to provide complimentary admission for Columbia students to all ticketed athletics contests, unlike other Ivy League and NCAA Division I Athletics programs.
  • With enhanced revenue made possible by the Student Term Bill, the department has initiated special promotions and projects to make our football game-day atmosphere more student- and fan-friendly.
  • We provide free shuttle buses to home football games from 116th Street and Broadway for every home football contest.
  • Our pre-game picnic area, hosted in collaboration with University Event Management, provides free beverages for students and all fans.
  • With enhanced revenue made possible by the Student Term Bill, the department has increased promotions and sports marketing activities directed to students, across all sports, including the Student Rewards Program, initiated in 2008-09.


Center for Career Education (CCE)
With support from the Student Life Fee, the Center for Career Education has enhanced employer outreach, increased job and internship postings and grown the number of domestic and international internship programs. Some supporting facts follow:

  • Job and internship postings in LionSHARE grew in 2010-11 to 16,303, an increase of 58% over the previous academic year. The total number of employers engaged and posting those positions grew to 7,843, an increase of 42% over the previous year. On-campus recruiting has also increased. A total of 5,730 interviews were held on Columbia’s campus in 2010-11, an increase of 9%.
  • CCE had a full agenda of employers visiting campus this fall for information sessions and on campus recruiting activities, programming and interview schedules. Despite the continued economic downturn, both the 2011 Fall Career Fair and Engineering Career Fair were filled to capacity with over 130 employers at each. CCE 2012 Spring Career Fair also had over 130 employers and the 2012 Start up Career Fair had 50 employers.
  • CCE-specific internship programs have also grown. In summer 2011, the Columbia Experience Overseas (CEO) program grew from five international locations (Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Shanghai and Singapore) to six (adding Amman). In summer 2012, CEO will add on a seventh city location in Istanbul. Domestically, the innovative new Columbia Exploration Externship, a shadowing program for first-year students will launched during Spring Break 2012. Additionally, we are excited to announce the new Columbia College Alumni- Sponsored Student Internship Program (CCASSIP), a program designed to give Columbia College students a chance to work in the organizations of Columbia College alumni. This program will also launch in summer of 2012 with students in a variety of locations and industries throughout the world. Other programs such as the Science Technology Engineering Program (STEP), Columbia Arts Experience, Virtual Internship Program, Columbia University Internship Network (CU In), and Columbia Communities in Action continue to remain robust and successful. In addition to the expanded employer outreach and alumni mentoring components associated with these programs, CCE enhanced professional development programming and pre-departure training for the participating interns. These initiatives began in 2007 with 3 programs serving 32 students. In spring/summer 2011 that number grew to 11 programs serving 123 students.

Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT)
A portion of the Student Life Fee, together with general University funding, funds key CUIT ongoing enhancements supporting students in the following areas:

  • Student Information System, SSOL, and financial aid system
  • Network, data center, and email
  • Help Desk, student labs and software, support for student computing
  • CourseWorks and related technologies
  • Classroom technologies

Most recent (2011-12) CUIT enhancements include the following:

  • Rollout of New CourseWorks system and migration of courses campus-wide to the new system.
  • Continued expansion and refresh of technology in classrooms, including 46 new e-classrooms over the past three years.
  • Increase in speed and reach of the campus wireless network, including wireless implementation in nearly all residence halls over the past three years.
  • Continuing increase in speed and reliability of the campus wired network.
  • Rollout of LionMail (Columbia Gmail and Google Calendar) for undergraduate students spring and summer 2012, followed by phased launch to graduate students beginning fall 2012.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous inb4 obligatory trashing of columbia athletics.

    1. Update says:

      @Update bwog is at least 15 comments more annoying and predictable than i had suspected.

      statistically, half of these posters don’t pay shit to be here anyway, so you’re complaining about the spending of an endowment that’s not yours on a program that has to exist(ivy’s half to be D1.)

      non athlete

      1. false says:

        @false Students who are on complete financial aid have a student contribution that they finance with their workstudy and casual employment. This not only means that we pay more out of our own pockets for our education than do students whose parents are footing the bill, but that we do it at the expense of our studies. Unless, of course, you’re working 12 to 15 hours a week to pay your bills.

        Fuck you, and other entitled shits like yourself.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous that’s kind of unfair to assume my socio economic standing. i am in fact on full financial aid; my student contribution is equal to what columbia estimates book expenses to be.

          so i, personally, don’t pay for that stuff. i can’t imagine i’m the only one that description applies to. the comment wasn’t meant to deride people on aid, just to point out that for a lot of us it doesn’t make sense to be complaining on this matter.

      2. are you fucking serious says:

        @are you fucking serious “half” to be D1?

        1. This just proves says:

          @This just proves entitled legacies are as dumb as athletes!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Can we get rid of Columbia athletics and spend the $390 on hiring more useless administrators to bulk up the bureaucracy?

  • Barnard '13 says:

    @Barnard '13 Mitt Romney for President.

    1. Just wondering says:

      @Just wondering Hi Barnard ’13,

      What is the breakdown of student fees at Barnard? What percentage is given to Columbia for BC students accessing Columbia-student-funded spaces, coming to non-dually recognized organizational events, and being given spots to Columbia-sponsored programs?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Thanks to “CCSC AND ESC”

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous So in four years I’m spending more on football players’ sweatpants than on my laptop?

    1. Now now says:

      @Now now Read young one, read. It’s really not that bad. 395 for tickets (I know they suck but whatever), gym membership, free shirts and other sh$%@, and all the intramurals you could want. Anyways, comparatively to any other school, this is minuscule, feel lucky.

      1. Indeed says:

        @Indeed that was my rationalization until I realized that our athletics (at least the most visible, which also happen to be the costliest) do more harm than good to my college experience. Also, if we each pay $390 per year, why does Dodge still suck so much? Can a guy get a weight belt ( or some wrist straps ( up in here? Can I lift on my one weekday morning off without rude gym teachers telling me every week I have 5 minutes before they’re kicking me out for their intro lifting class?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Funds from the Student Term Bill enable the department to provide complimentary admission for Columbia students to all ticketed athletics contests, unlike other Ivy League and NCAA Division I Athletics programs.” In other words theres no way we could even have a football team if we depended on ticket sales, so let’s force everyone to pay and then claim we’re doing them a service by making it “free”!

    1. Truth says:

      @Truth It’s just like Apple!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Athletics are an important part of student life, but why do they get such a large portion of funds compared to other activities?

    1. THIS says:

      @THIS Seems a bit odd that athletes get so many benefits on the dime of all CU students, when we have dozens of student groups that need to pay out of pocket just to travel once a year to a conference or competition

  • What says:

    @What What is a “House Fee”?

  • Dr. Science says:

    @Dr. Science I, Dr. Science, have taken the liberty of computing the best possible allocation of student life fees. You are welcome. See for yourself:

    1. I'm always saddened says:

      @I'm always saddened when I see a Penis Fountain (that’s the proper technical term, right?) malfunctioning. Probably instinctual.

  • $390 says:

    @$390 Kind of puts those four “free” beers and the “free” bus ride to homecoming in perspective, doesn’t it…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Same question: what’s house fee?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous So, do we throw more money at athletics and CUIT in the hopes that they’ll start to suck less, or cut our losses and slash the budgets?

    1. My thoughts exactly. says:

      @My thoughts exactly. This should be the key takeaway from the budget breakdown.

  • Anon says:

    @Anon So I can’t get my abortions paid for, but I have to pay for a football team that should have been aborted long ago?

    1. no cigar says:

      @no cigar ejected* long ago, pun intended

  • What says:

    @What Last week’s news: you don’t end up paying if you do have an abortion. Get with the times, kid.

  • AJK says:

    @AJK Such nonsense. I’m paying $390 per year so I can support “maintaining free admission to athletics contests and increasing contest-relatedpromotions for students”. Remember that free ipad that someone randomly got by attending a game? I guess I bought it for them. Dude, just give me back $200 out of the $390. Over 4 years, I coulda bought myself a freakin ipad w/ that kinda money

  • broken_symlink says:

    @broken_symlink i personally find the CUIT stuff more disturbing considering how shitty the wifi is on campus and that its something I battle with daily. I can’t even use wifi in butler 403 and have resorted to bringing my own ethernet cable when I want to work in butler.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The athletic fee is to run Dodge and all the student club sports.

    1. Don't people read? says:

      @Don't people read? To all the people complaining about funding athletics:

      They’re talking about club/intramural sports. These are the sports non-athletes get to participate in. For example, ultimate frisbee. Stop bashing the athletics programs, we already know students don’t support us. And trust, we’re struggling for funds for the teams that actually WIN -_-

  • But actually though says:

    @But actually though If I promise to never ever go to a sporting event, can I not pay the athletics fee…

    1. just a thought says:

      @just a thought If I promise never to take classes in women’s studies or anthropology, can my tuition not be used to fund those departments?

      If I promise never to take a class in Pupin, can my tuition not be used to maintain that old building?

      1. My thoughts exactly. says:

        @My thoughts exactly. The women’s studies and anthropology departments and Pupin don’t negatively effect my college experience. The football/basketball teams being so perennially horrible and the subsequent lack of interest in them from the student body does.

        1. Sense says:

          @Sense How about athletes and those who attend sporting events pay for athletics?

  • Anon says:

    @Anon Club Sports is through F@CU which is part of the Student Activity Fees.

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