Spring 2022 Alternative Consultation: Proposed Fee



                                                                   Spring 2022 Alternative Consultation


What is the purpose of the Accelerating Tech and Sustainability Fee?

This fee recognizes SDSU students’ heavy reliance on information technologies to succeed academically, for research experiences, and to enhance personal experiences by remaining connected and integrated with the digital fabric of campus. The fee also recognizes the collective, and often student-led, desire for the campus community to invest in the people, programs, and infrastructure required to make substantive progress in achieving our sustainability goals and mitigate our impact on the planet.

This fee would allow the university to continue to meet the growing demands on information technologies, and students’ sustainability goals and aspirations.  

What will the Accelerating Tech and Sustainability Fee fund?

This fee will ensure sustainable resources necessary for:

  • Providing a modern and sustainable information technology infrastructure for students (devices, software, connectivity)
  • Investing in sustainability initiatives as outlined below
  • Supporting students’ professional growth through cutting edge career and research opportunities
  • Bolstering the training and support necessary for students and faculty to excel in the use of the proposed transformational software and services
  • Innovating through new information technology efforts in student engagement including but not limited to e-sports, and augmented and virtual reality

Specifically, what would the technology advancements include?

  • Enhanced access to software for students, including security and instructional software tools
  • Enhanced wireless Internet (including outdoor) coverage on campus
  • E-sustainability program, including paperless processes for students
  • Improved service with more staff dedicated to student support in the Student Computing Hub
  • Training for students and faculty using SDSU technology infrastructure and software
  • Work experiences for students, and paid information technology internships
  • 24/7 student support for learning management system (Canvas) and integrated video content for instruction
  • Leading edge digital classrooms for students (increasing hybrid capacity)
  • Virtualization technology to support anytime/anywhere/any device computing
  • Information technology research infrastructure
  • Growth of augmented and virtual reality labs, hardware and software for student use
  • Mobile app for campus information and safety 
  • E-gaming and e-sports facilities

Specifically, what would the sustainability investments include?

  • Staff support for the Office of Energy and Sustainability which could include positions like:
    • Energy and Utility Infrastructure Project Manager
    • Zero Waste Coordinator
    • Sustainability Coordinator
    • Additional student interns
  • Sustainability Program Funding such as:
    • Energy and sustainability program funds
    • Energy and sustainability literacy outreach
    • Energy and sustainability student grants (determined by and for students)
  • Sustainable Energy Funding such as:
    • Solar PV cost differential offset
    • LED lighting upgrade projects
    • Energy efficiency and conversion projects upgrade from greenhouse gas to electrification
  • Sustainable Transportation Funding such as:
    • Subsidies for SDSU MTS trolley and/or bus passes
    • Expansion of shuttle between San Diego and Imperial Valley campuses
    • Other carbon reducing mass transportation initiatives

How will the fee support SDSU-IV?

In support of the university’s strategic plan goal of fostering an interconnected and equitable SDSU experience for our students, deepening the quality of learning inside and outside the classroom, and advancing student success, campus mandatory fees and the services and programs supported by these fees will be equitably provided across both campuses to the greatest extent possible, acknowledging there will be differences in some services and programs based on campus (e.g. transportation subsidies). 

The Office of Energy and Sustainability will be located at the San Diego campus and will provide services and programming support to Imperial Valley primarily remotely. Student centric technology help will be provided to Imperial Valley students both remotely and with the support of on-site student interns/assistants. 

Equitable student representation, including undergraduate and graduate students from both San Diego and Imperial Valley campuses would serve on the Accelerating Technology and Sustainability committees, and would provide annual input and approval on the portions of the fee supporting the discretionary budgets for Accelerating Technology and Sustainability Fee-funded efforts such as programming, procurement subsidies, micro-grant administration, new projects, software and transportation subsidies. 

CFAC will receive annual updates on how the Accelerating Tech and Sustainability Fee is being allocated, as well as outcomes related to the fee.  

When will the fee take effect and when will I see the benefits?

If approved, the Accelerating Tech and Sustainability fee will be implemented in fall 2022. There will be immediate benefits for technology such as hardware/software, student centric support and programming, and sustainability staff support, transportation subsidies and student micro grants. Some investments such as connected classrooms and sustainable energy projects may occur later due to higher costs and lengthy project lead times.   

What support will go away if the fee is not approved?

If the Accelerating Tech and Sustainability fee is not approved, students will see reductions in student centric software and support and no 24/7/365 support for the Learning Management System (Canvas). Investments in infrastructure, innovation and sustainability will be limited based on the availability of limited resources. Examples of student centric software that may not continue if the fee is not approved include Playposit, Mediasite, Gradescope, and OnBase. The Information Pamphlet includes a chart which shows what scale of services could be provided for each fee level including the status quo if the fee is not approved. 

Based on the different fee options, how would the support and services be prioritized for each option?

The Information Pamphlet includes a chart which shows what scale of services could be provided for each fee level including the status quo if the fee is not approved.

Why are these not two separate fees?

SDSU is pursuing one fee given the program element overlaps. There are sustainability items in both proposals and both areas have in common the need for co-investment with students to accelerate the delivery of both information technology and sustainability solutions for our students due to their request for action and services.  Keeping the two fees together allows both to move forward, and there is programmatic overlap (e-sustainability) between the two efforts.

How will the fee revenue be allocated to support accelerating technology and sustainability goals?

3% of the fee revenue will be designated for return to aid to help offset the impact of this fee to support students who are experiencing financial hardship. 67% of the fee revenue will be allocated to support accelerating technology and the remaining 30% will support accelerating sustainability. CFAC will review and approve any changes to this distribution.

Can you provide additional information about return to aid? 

Return to aid is a designated amount of funds that are set aside to support students who are having difficulty paying their fees.  Currently the two active fees that have a return to aid component are the increase in the Health & Wellness fee and the increase in the Instructionally Related Activities fee that were implemented in fall 2019.  Information about how the return to aid for these two fees work can be found here: https://sacd.sdsu.edu/ecrt/fee-relief

Where can I seek financial assistance for my tuition and fees?

All students are encouraged to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly referred to as the FAFSA and to reach out to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (OFAS) https://sacd.sdsu.edu/financial-aid to determine their federal financial aid eligibility.  Students can also find information about SDSU scholarships on the OFAS webpage. 

Another important resource in addition to financial aid is the Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT).  Students finding it difficult to meet their basic needs or experiencing a financial crisis are encouraged to reach out to ECRT.  Check out the ECRT webpage for more information about ECRT: https://sacd.sdsu.edu/ecrt

Why can’t the University fund this on its own?

SDSU’s operating budget has two main funding sources: the State of California General Fund and student tuition and fees. State funding now covers less than half of SDSU’s operating costs, with tuition and fees making up for the remainder. 

Supplemental programs and philanthropic support generate additional revenue needed for essential services that boost state-supported activities.

Approximately 85% of SDSU’s operating budget supports employee salary and benefit expenses, with the balance (15%) supporting other operating expenses including utilities, insurance, equipment, supplies and services. Given this allocation of funds, the operating budget largely supports ongoing commitments; therefore, it does not allow for funds to be reallocated from these commitments to fund other campus priorities. 

Additionally, new allocations of state funding are largely earmarked for specific state or CSU system wide-initiatives including enrollment growth, Graduation Initiative 2025, and mandatory cost increases, such as minimum wage increases, bargained employee compensation, and employer-paid benefit increases, which limits the availability of new state funding to meet campus specific priorities such as the proposed investments in information technology and sustainability initiatives.

SDSU will continue its  advocacy efforts for additional funding to support SDSU priorities.

Please visit SDSU Budget Hub for additional SDSU budget information.

Why can't the fees I'm already paying be reallocated to meet information technology and sustainability needs?

Campus-based mandatory fees were approved for a specific purpose and funds must be used consistent with that purpose. Please refer to Campus-Based Fees on the Student Account Services website for more information about the SDSU campus-based mandatory fees and what existing student programs, services and facilities these fees support. 

Note that the SDSU Mission Valley project is funded from philanthropic and public-private partnership revenues. Student tuition and fee revenues are not supporting the SDSU Mission Valley project.

Why do we need this fee right now?

Though the importance of SDSU’s information technology  infrastructure and services to students was recognized prior to COVID, the pandemic accelerated and focused the campus on the equity gaps in access to computing hardware and networks, information, software, student training, and online instructional support (such as Canvas support). These inequities, as well as the importance of cybersecurity, were initially addressed through one-time investments (including $5.6 million in federal COVID-related grant funding) on our campus. While the students, staff, faculty, and administration have alignment in the principles of sustainability and modest initiatives have been implemented, the university currently is not sufficiently funded by the State of California to meet current technology infrastructure requirements and to support sustainability aspirations, and thus additional resources are needed to support these efforts.

What areas of technical support are currently requested by students?

Student Request Chart

How were students consulted in this process?

San Diego State University conducted a study of students’ opinions regarding information technology and sustainability on campus. All students were invited to complete the survey. Participation was completely voluntary, and all survey responses were only viewed in aggregated form. The survey was sent to 35,730 email addresses on November 15, 2021. A total of 3,084 students completed the survey, for a response rate of 8.6%. Student perspectives have informed all areas of technology and sustainability investments. They are consistent and in alignment with the sustainability-related strategic planning efforts (including AS representation), recent student-led Climate Strike demands, and the results of the survey that was recently completed by the student population. 

Further, data from thousands of quantitative and qualitative responses (see list below) informed the fee priorities and areas for investment including a needs assessment relating to students' basic hardware and connectivity needs throughout the pandemic. 

Select Surveys 2020-2021

  • Student Basic Needs and Technology Survey (SDSU Students)
  • Accelerating Technology and Sustainability Fee Survey (SDSU Students)
  • EDUCAUSE/California State University Qualitative Student Study (CSU-Specific Student Focus Group conducted with SDSU students)

The student surveys were not considered by the Campus Fee Advisory Committee in reviewing and approving the information pamphlet.

How will students be involved if the fee is approved?

If approved, equitable student representation, including undergraduate and graduate student from both San Diego and Imperial Valley campuses will be serving on the Accelerating Technology and Sustainability committees, and would provide annual input and approval on the portions of the fee supporting the discretionary budgets for Accelerating Technology and Sustainability Fee-funded efforts such as programming, procurement subsidies, micro-grant administration, new projects, software and transportation subsidies. 

CFAC will receive annual updates on how the Accelerating Tech and Sustainability Fee is being allocated, as well as outcomes related to the fee. 

When are the forums?

Please visit sdsu.edu/alternativeconsult for the most current list of scheduled forums

What if I require accommodations for my participation in the forums?

Accommodations will be provided by contacting the Student Ability Success Center at (619) 594-6473 or [email protected].