Declining enrollment prompts USG budget cuts

As a result of declining enrollment, the United Students Government and all the clubs and organizations it funds will be experiencing budget cuts for the 2014-15 academic school year.

However, enrollment decline isn’t specific to SUNY Buffalo State. A report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center said the total enrollment across the nation decreased 1.5 percent from the previous year.

According to, there were about 300,000 less students who enrolled in college nationwide in 2013 than there were in 2012.

Enrollment for the fall 2013 academic year at Buffalo State decreased 4.9 percent. It was the lowest enrollment the college has had since the fall of 1972, according to the fall 2013 Buffalo State enrollment summary.

According to Justine Britten, treasurer of USG, there is no way to prevent the decrease in budget because of the enrollment decline.

“There’s nothing we can really do about that,” Britten said. “If we don’t have the money there, we can’t distribute it. Every board received a budget cut.”

Britten said the only board that didn’t receive any cuts was the academic affairs board.

They had a problem last year when the smaller organizations felt unappreciated and believed that USG was only focusing on the organizations that had parties.

“We did sacrifice some of the major organizations for those smaller organizations and those bottom lines show that,” Britten said. “Every board got cut except for that board.”

The next academic school year will be the referendum year. This means it will once again be time for students to vote on the mandatory student activity fee.

The mandatory student activity fee is $75 for full-time students and $6.25 per semester for part-time students. It funds USG as well as all of the recognized sports clubs and organizations.

This fee helps provide funds in order for clubs and organizations to put on events,  travel and to get merchandise like t-shirts for their members.

However, with the ensuing budget cuts, things like travel lines and leisure lines will be cut.

Diaisha Richards, who was voted as the next treasurer of USG, said that she plans on being “humble, clear and organized” concerning the USG budget.

Richards wants to make sure that the clubs and organizations understand that it isn’t her call to make the budget cuts and that no one group is being favored.

“Of course there will be problems and complaints,” Richards said, “but I am willing to listen to them all and suggest other alternatives that will hopefully be helpful to the orgs.”

Ashleigh-Ann Sutherland, voted as USG president for the 2013-14 academic year, said that she has been with the organization for the past two years and has been able to work alongside Britten in order to understand how the budget is handled.

Sutherland said she believes the way Britten organized the budget was very fair and that she feels like she knows how to deal with it and how to pertain it to the student body.

One of the things she thinks would help USG and its organizations and clubs stay funded is to increase the price of the student activity fee.

“I think that we should raise it because the orgs have so much that they want to do,” Sutherland said. “I don’t know if it will ever be done, but I think it’s a good thing.“

The price of the Buffalo State student activity fee is minor compared to other colleges and universities.

Private schools like Boston College and Vassar College range from $310 to $330 per year for the undergraduate student activity fee. Other SUNY schools like Oswego and New Paltz range from $97 to $100 per year for undergrads.

Britten believes that one of the only ways to ensure the budget stays funded is to increase the student activity fee. She said by increasing it even $50 more per student would help USG to do a lot more with its funding.

Britten said everyone knows about the problem with enrollment. She said USG is working together to try to find more ways to help increase enrollment at Buffalo State.

Working toward getting a group of people to go out to different Buffalo high schools and try to recruit students for the campus was one of the things that the members of USG suggested, according to Britten.

“Moving forward, I hope we can continue to work together to make this all work,” Britten said, “because even though we all are an executive board, we are here for the students, we’re voted by the students.”


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