A resolution proposing the adoption of a $5 student fee to support the Leadership Engagement Scholarship was introduced during Tuesday’s Central Student Government’s meeting.
The Leadership Engagement Scholarship was created last October in partnership with the Office of Student Life to boost student extracurricular involvement and reduce cost barriers for student leaders on campus. It was announced at last October’s Board of Regents meeting, with CSG President David Schafer, an LSA senior, introducing the fund as a way to compensate student leaders for their unpaid time commitments and offer them financial support.
“A 5-year, $5/semester student fee in support of the Leadership Engagement Scholarship will bring in more than $2 million for student leadership involvement and support over the course of the 5-year life of the fee,” the resolution states.
Engineering Rep. Tania Haddad, an Engineering senior, said the resolution can provide more funds for the scholarship.
“We are especially passionate about this scholarship and establishing it so it can have a large enough endowment and have a profound and helpful impact on multiple students on campus,” she said.
Recipients are expected to serve as future mentors to younger students, and Schafer asked the board to consider donating to the scholarship—aimed at improving socioeconomic inclusion— which was well received by the regents. A recent internal survey of CSG found the body is mostly male and white and 37.2 percent of members come from homes earning more than $250,000 a year.
“Seventy-five percent of CSG members come from a household from a total income of over $100,000,” Schafer said at the October meeting. “This simply does not reflect the experiences of many students on campus.”
To qualify for the scholarship, potential recipients must be full-time students at the University of Michigan, receiving need-based funds from the Office of Financial Aid and either currently be a leader in a student organization or aspiring to be one.
Rackham student Rep. Andy Snow was critical of the idea, noting its similarities to a regressive tax.
“At the end of the day, I don’t care that it’s generally going to help students who need money — I see the student fee as basically a regressive tax for students the most, in general, and I do find it massively, massively insulting that we just act like financial aid covers it,” he said to the body. “People take out loans and pay, not only that fee, but finally pay back quite a bit when they finally get the money to do it, so without reducing where people pay, I will not be able to support this.”
Snow continued to criticize the body for introducing the resolution, stating it was against many of CSG’s beliefs.
“I don’t see fundamentally how so many of us can be against tuition hikes and increases and still be in support of this,” he said.
The Regents voted this July to increase tuition by 3.9 percent for in-state students and 4.4 percent for out-of-state students, translating to a $546 per year tuition increase for in-state students and $1,934 for out-of-state students.
The resolution was tabled for further review at the resolutions committee.