Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, June 19, 2018

New SG fund offers money to students for extra class costs

The $1,000 fund will help finance expenses like art supplies, but excludes textbooks.

Correction appended.

Senate Speaker Will Mascaro announced plans to introduce an Academic Access Fund, which would help undergraduate students pay for extra class requirements such as movie tickets and art supplies, at Sunday’s Senate meeting.

The plans for the fund were laid out in a bill written by Josh Zucker, a senator for the class of 2016, and Dante Bucci, a senator for the class of 2018. The legislation passed last March.

According to Mascaro, the fund will be financed with $1,000 from the student activity fee, which all undergraduates contributed $88.50 to this year. All students receiving need-based financial aid are eligible to fill out an application requesting a portion of this money. Mascaro expects the application to be available by Sept. 16.

“It’s time to give students back the money that they paid to this school,” said Alexandra Mosenson, the Associate Comptroller for Budget Management. She said she paid over $30 to see plays for classes last year.

The application form will require students to name the item they need to purchase, the class that requires the item and whether or not they are receiving financial aid. The language of the bill states that the fund cannot be used for textbooks, e-textbooks or software. Including these, Zucker said, would deplete the fund too quickly and make the program too large in scope.

Submitted applications are passed on to the comptroller’s office for assessment, according to Mosenson. The comptroller will have the power to either accept, alter, or reject a student’s request.

Because applicants do not have to disclose their exact economic circumstances, the SG comptroller will use the size of the fund and the number of applicants to determine how much money each student gets.

“We don’t want to reject anyone’s claim,” Mascaro said. “If you need assistance, we want to accept your application. The determining factor is how far we can stretch the money to provide for the largest amount of students possible.”

Mascaro supports the legislation, saying that many students struggle to pay for expensive course supplements. He said he hopes that if the program is successful, they will be able to expand the fund in 2016.

“If you are a student who is receiving aid, you are doubly impacted,” he said. “Not only is it annoying to have to go out and buy this stuff, but you’re already struggling financially to be at this university. That is an additional financial burden that should, on the record, be included in our tuition anyways.”

ebloomberg@theeagleonline.com

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the positions of Zucker and Bucci. They are senators for the classes of 2016 and 2018, respectively.


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