Is St. Cloud State's new fee a bailout or boon?

No need to sweat it -- at least for a while

Just a little follow-up to yesterday’s news about St. Cloud State students approving a $1.74-per-credit fee increase to save Husky football and other sports.

So it looks like the average full-time student taking 12 credit hours will pay almost $21 per semester extra for the next three years — about a 7.5 percent increase to the fee load.

Andrew Beckmann, a marketing major who plays football, told me on the phone:

“It was great to see it. We were all sweating it pretty bad. It’s kind of tough to compete when you don’t know whether you’ll be around next year.”

But with an approval rate of 58 percent, the vote wasn’t exactly unanimous.

Student government spokeswoman Danielle Morris described the differing opinions on campus:

You would see a lot of students saying, “Why would we support a bailout?” If you visited other buildings on campus, you might hear, “How can a school this big not have a football program?”

Zach Holker was one guy who voted against the fee — on principle. (The English major is a senior, so won’t be around when it comes into effect.)

He told me:

I don’t think it’ll be a huge financial problem for students. But athletics has been running a deficit for years and years. This (vote) is saying, “It doesn’t matter how irresponsible you are with your money, we’ll just give you more.”

He said he works in Student Event Planning, and that the fee will limit how much the student government can raise student fees in the future. That’s because student government is almost at its funding cap, he said. (I’ve got a call into the administration to see whether that’s true, and if so, how close the cap is.)

At this point, the fee has theoretically bought St. Cloud State three years, during which time it’ll have to find ways to save the programs.

One gray area, though:

According to the Associated Press:

WJON-AM reports St. Cloud State President Earl Potter addressed

the student government Thursday and pledged not to cut any sports

in the next two years.

If the students have raised money for three years, why is Potter talking about only two years?

Morris and an administrative spokesman said the two years probably refers to the official biennium, which may be all Potter can technically budget for. So that may be just an accounting technicality.

I’ve asked for clarification, so we’ll see.