The $8.32 GAF increase explained


Lauren Franken, Managing Editor

At the Jan. 14 Students’ Association meeting, the General Activity Fee (GAF) steering committee revealed a first draft of the three-year strategic plan for years 2020-23.

They also proposed a two-year plan, but ultimately decided in favor of the three-year plan.

GAF is a mandatory per-credit-hour fee that directs funds toward activities the general campus population would participate in and benefit from. South Dakota State creates a new plan every five years, unlike a lot of universities who don’t draft a plan at all.  

There have been five workgroups investigating how to best spend student dollars: student life, wellness services, transportation, student organizations and athletic facilities and operations.

The steering committee, along with the chairs of the five work groups, proposed an $8.32 increase in GAF between 2020 and 2023, assuming there are 270,000 credit hours per year. GAF is currently $43.75 per-credit-hour.

The student organizations workgroup proposed to raise GAF in two phases. The first phase would raise GAF by $0.25 in 2020 and the second phase would raise it by $0.50 in 2022. Both increases would help fund student organizations campus-wide.

Athletic facilities and operations is also broken up into two phases. The first phase, in 2020, will raise GAF by $3.00—which will go toward Frost Arena renovations. In 2020, SA will also redirect $2.49 from the Student Union maintenance and repair fund for athletics operations.

The second phase, which will take place in 2021, will raise GAF by $2.47 for athletics operations. In total, $5.47 of the total GAF increase will go toward athletics facilities and operations.

The wellness services work group proposed the following wellness services enhancements: $0.20 for group fitness passes, $0.07 for the YOU@STATE platform, $0.10 for club sports funding, $0.17 for expanded Wellness Center hours, $0.22 for additional counseling staff and $0.19 for preventative maintenance on equipment. In total, GAF will increase by $0.95 for wellness services enhancements in 2020.

The transportation workgroup proposed a city-wide bus system, which would increase GAF by $0.75 in 2021 and $0.15 in 2022, when the bus system would officially roll out.

The student life workgroup proposed a $0.25 increase in GAF in 2022 that would go toward a sustainability grant program.

SA will hold an open forum within the next two weeks, and will reconvene on Jan. 28 for a second reading and vote on an official strategic plan proposal.