Survey for student feedback on athletic fee increase now open

Administrators at Georgia Highlands College have heard student feedback this January as it relates to the proposed increase to the student athletic fee. The school asked for an extension from the Board of Regents regarding its deadline for proposed mandatory fee increases.

Students can now let the institution know their personal decision regarding whether or not they support the fee increase via an online survey. The survey can be found through SCORE on the GHC home page. Finding the survey is a matter of logging into SCORE, clicking on the “Student Services” tab and then selecting “Institutional Feedback.” The link to the survey can be found on that page.

The original deadline for requests for mandatory fee increases was the fourteenth of December, but GHC was unable to organize a meeting to get student approval in time to meet that deadline.

According to Rob Whitaker, vice president of finance and administration, “We must get student support, and it must be widespread student support on a fee increase. We’re not going to increase the fee unless we get those two things. That is the directive from the Board of Regents, and that’s very much the expectation that the president and I have as administrators of this college.”

Whitaker talked of  the school’s three-part plan for getting feedback from the students before moving forward with its proposal of an increase to the athletic fee. “We’re going to meet with the SGA in January, we’re going to hold town hall meetings at every campus, and then we’re going to do a student body vote via the internet,” he said. The vote is expected to be conducted using SCORE.

The amount of the proposed increase is $25. If this increase takes place, GHC’s athletic fee would be raised from its current amount of $50 to $75 per student per semester. Among the schools in the University System of Georgia that have athletic fees, GHC’s $50 fee ranks second-lowest. Only Georgia Perimeter College has a lower fee at $40, and due to higher enrollment numbers, it collects its fee from a substantially higher number of students than does GHC. GHC’s current enrollment is around 5,500 students, whereas GPC’s is approximately 30,000.

At this juncture, there is a four-part plan for how the athletic fee would be applied to spending moving forward. This plan includes building baseball and softball fields on the Cartersville campus, adding more intercollegiate sports (possibly volleyball, cross country and/or tennis) to GHC’s athletic program, renovating the locker rooms on the Floyd campus and improving GHC’s competitiveness on playing fields.

Phillip Gaffney, GHC athletic director and men’s head basketball coach, stated that an increase to the athletic fee would be beneficial to the entire GHC community, not just the athletic program. “I think the most important thing is, let’s get a locker room for everybody, not just athletes. Let’s get baseball and softball fields for everybody, not just baseball and softball [players]. Let’s add additional sports for different segments of the population who may not play the other sports, and then, let’s try to make our programs competitive.”

Stay up to date on the athletic fee situation by checking the Six Mile Post website for more updates regarding the proposed increase to GHC’s athletic fee.