K-State to Phase Out Annual Student Privilege Fees

MANHATTAN, Kan. – As part of its commitment to Providing Value to the University, Community and State, K-State Athletics, in conjunction with the university's Student Governing Association (SGA), has announced that it will phase out its annual receipt of student privilege fees.

Legislation to end the fee, which was approved Thursday night by Student Senate, will reduce allocations to Athletics to $450,000 in fees in FY17 followed by $350,000 in FY18 and $200,000 for in FY19 with the anticipation that the allocations will then cease.

SGA’s tradition of financial support for intercollegiate athletics currently stands at an annual allocation of $500,695, which in turn is used to defray a large portion of the $1.1 million in salaries that K-State Athletics pays to student workers (like graduate assistants, parking lot attendants, ushers, etc.,) each year. The Privilege Fee committee renews fee allocation contracts every three years, and the department is now in the final year of this cycle.

“This is a historic step forward for K-State and one that would have never been possible had it not been for the strategic financial investments of our students at important moments in K-State’s intercollegiate history,” Athletics Director John Currie said. “Even after the phase-out of the fee, students will continue to have the opportunity to directly financially invest in K-State Athletics through their annual purchase of student football and men’s basketball passes.

“And, the very most important aspect of our special student/K-State Athletics relationship always continues to be the packed and boisterous student sections, front and center, driving the atmosphere of Bramlage Coliseum and Bill Snyder Family Stadium and portraying to those national TV audiences what the K-State Family is all about. Our great partnership and collaboration with students will continue, and I would like to personally thank SGA President Andy Hurtig, Vice President Joe Tinker, SGA Athletics Liaison Katie Gehrt, and Student Privilege Fee Chair Garrett Kays for their tremendous leadership and teamwork throughout this process.”

“We are thrilled with this next positive step in a long history of collaborative decision-making between SGA and K-State Athletics,” Hurtig and Tinker said in a joint statement. “We could not be more thankful to John Currie, Scott Garrett, Joni Smoller and Austin Anderson for their willingness to explore and identify opportunities for Athletics to lessen the burden on students amid today’s financial climate. K-State prides itself on having a world-class relationship between students and administration, and Athletics plays a pivotal role in that partnership. This future-oriented agreement is a testament to K-State Athletics’ stewardship of students’ interests and our student body’s diligence in advocating for our vested interests as a member of shared governance.”

K-State Athletics and K-State’s Student Governing Association have a long history of working together to advance and improve the Wildcat experience for all students and the community. For example, a movement led by K-State students was a major factor in getting state approval and support to build Ahearn Field House in the 1940s and 1950s, while SGA provided $1 million, over half of the original cost, for the initial construction of Bill Snyder Family Stadium in 1968. Later SGA helped drive the reconstruction of Nichols Hall, and in the 1980s, student fees, along with private gifts, helped build Bramlage Coliseum, which 27 years later provides one of the best home court atmospheres in all of college basketball.

K-State’s annual student fees are established and governed by the SGA’s Privilege Fee committee and Student Senate. K-State students have paid, through their fees, for many of the university’s facilities, including funding the original Student Union (and its just commenced massive new renovation and upgrade) and Recreation Complex as well as vital services like the university counseling center, health services and other programs.

This announcement comes on the heels of the department’s phasing out and elimination of more than $2.6 million of direct and indirect University funding, not counting the student fee allocation. Thanks to the generosity of Wildcat donors and fans, the growth of Big 12 Conference revenues and careful fiscal management, the department was able to eliminate this funding source, enabling these dollars to be reinvested into critical academic needs across campus. In fiscal year 2016, K-State is the lone athletics program in the state of Kansas and one of only approximately 25 in the country to operate with no direct or indirect university funding or state support.