Nouse has learnt of a proposal by YUSU to increase the college membership fee by £5 year on year until 2018, to cover lost funding for college sport. The proposals, which have been submitted to the University’s Student Life Committee, put forward the college fee increase as a possible solution to the issue of how YUSU pays for college sport.
Money from Sport England had been allocated to pay for college sport until 2015, and a one-off grant of £15,000 was provided by the University to cover the 2015/16 year. Now YUSU is exploring further options to cover the cost.
The proposals would see a £5 increase next academic year, and a second £5 increase for 2017/18, putting the overall college membership fee at £40 for three year students, £30 for two year students, and £20 for one year students by 2017. The Graduate Student Association reports that this would bring in an additional £25,000 to cover college sport funding.
The GSA issued a statement to Nouse, highlighting that “while the benefits of college sport are well known and documented in the proposal, engaging in sport is a personal choice and to ask all students to fund the chosen activities of a few students is wholly unfair.”
“Going from the statistics provided by YUSU in the proposal, only 10 per cent of the overall student body is engaged in college sport,” the statement reads. “The GSA and many postgraduates already feel that the college fee is unfairly charging postgraduates in order to subsidise the undergraduate college experience.” The GSA also pointed out that the increase would disproportionally affect single year and masters students, as a £5 increase equates to a 50 per cent rise in the college fee.
YUSU President Ben Leatham pointed out that College Sport has grown significantly over the past few years, and that “College Sport is a really attractive prospect for students coming to York and it encourages participation from students who might not otherwise be attracted to University Sport.
“In order for YUSU to continue to run their elements of the programme just under £25,000 is needed on an annual basis,” Leatham said. “This is to pay for, among other things, facilities, coaching and equipment. ”
Leatham said that the Student Life Committee – chaired by him and University Secretary David Duncan – will meet this week to discuss college sport funding. The Committee is a forum to begin discussions on these issues, and the college fee increase is “one suggestion” to resolve the funding gap.
“Students have already raised concerns at the introduction of the college fee and so a decision of this magnitude requires large levels of student consultation,” Leatham continued. “As chair, I intend to raise the paper as a discussion point, gather thoughts from others on the committee including GSA and College representatives, and then take the issue to the student body after the meeting.
“I want to find out from students their thoughts on College Sport, what issues currently exist, and how students would feel about raising the fee in order to fund an expanding programme. I expect there to be strong opinions on the issue and welcome all discussion. The feedback we get will inform our stance on the matter and any actions we take.”