The Ohio Union

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Student Activity Fee?

A: It is a fee charged to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students each semester. The fee is used to fund major campus events planned by the Ohio Union Activities Board, student organizations, student governments, the Discount Ticket program, Buck-I-SERV (the alternative breaks program), select local community service initiatives planned by Pay It Forward, and some of Ohio State's largest and most traditional campus programs, called Signature Events.

Q: How much money do I pay for the Student Activity Fee?

A: As of autumn semester 2012, the amount of the Student Activity Fee is $37.50 per semester (formerly $25 per quarter since 2010). The change to $37.50 does not constitute an increase in the fee revenue but merely a recalculation necessitated by the switch to semesters.  Prior to the increase in 2010, the fee had been $15 per quarter since the Student Activity Fee's inception in Autumn Quarter 2003.

Q: Who pays the Student Activity Fee?

A: The fee is charged to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled at the OSU-Columbus campus only, which does not include students from Ohio State's smaller campuses. Students from other Franklin County colleges and universities participating in various cooperative programs with OSU-Columbus are charged tuition and fees based on their "home" institution. Therefore, only students paying their tuition and fees to OSU-Columbus are assessed the Activity Fee, and only those students are eligible for its benefits.

Q: How much money does the fee bring in?

A: At the $37.50 per semester level, the Fee generates roughly $4 million.

Q: What is the money generated from the fee used for?

A: The breakdown is:

  • 53.20% campus-wide programming administered by Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB)
  • 13.30% Discount Ticket Program (D-Tix) 
  • 12.75% student organization funding
  • 8.65% student government funding
  • 6.45% Signature Events funding 
  • 5.20% Buck-I-SERV (alternative breaks program)
  • 0.45% Pay It Forward (local service initiatives)

In addition to these funded programs, there are fixed amounts from the Student Activity Fee dedicated to funding student organization resources, graphic design and video editing services, and limited staffing.

Q: What types of events are sponsored by the fee?

A: The fee funds free concerts, lectures, comedy shows, movies, and special events, as well as graduate and professional student programming, alternative break service trips, local community service initiatives, discounted tickets to cultural events occurring off-campus, and on-campus programs sponsored by registered student organizations.

Q: How can I be involved in deciding which events are brought to campus?

A: Go to http://ouab.osu.edu to provide a suggestion. You can also join OUAB and have your voice heard or give current members your ideas! OUAB is the Ohio Union Activities Board, which receives the largest portion of the fee to plan campus events. OUAB is always looking for energetic students to help brainstorm ideas of what performers and events to bring to campus. New members are selected at the beginning of each autumn semester. Go to http://ouab.osu.edu for more information about the membership process.

Q: How do student organizations benefit from the Activity Fee?

A: Each registered student organization is eligible to receive up to $200 in operating funds and has the opportunity to apply for up to $2,000 or $3,000 more (depending on their registration status) for special programs that anyone on campus can attend. In addition, the Resource Room in the Keith B. Key Center for Student Leadership and Service at the Ohio Union receives funding for the equipment and tools that student organizations can use.

Q: What other Activity Fee-funded resources are available to student organizations?

A: The Resource Room, which receives its budget from the Activity Fee, provides registered student organizations with access to a variety of resources and supplies including photocopying, poster printing, free reservation of equipment like digital cameras, camcorders, and two-way radios, and use of various marketing materials. Once registered, student organizations receive a $250 line of pre-paid credit for products and services in the Resource Room.  Student organizations may also receive the free services of a team of graphic designers to help with design of posters, brochures, flyers, postcards, logos, etc.  The graphics department can help secure price quotes from outside printers and manufacturers, etc., but the organizations themselves must incur the costs of printing the items that the graphics department designs.  Student organizations also have access to free video editing services funded by the Fee.

Q: What is the Discount Ticket Program?

A: The Discount Ticket Program, or D-Tix, allows students to buy discounted tickets to sporting events, concerts, and cultural events throughout Columbus and Ohio. Discounts are also available to area movie theatres, restaurants, the Columbus Zoo, COSI, and the Funny Bone Comedy Club, as well as the Columbus Museum of Art and many others. Tickets are sold at the Ohio Union Information Center. Students may purchase with a valid Buck-ID. Check dtix.osu.edu for the most updated list of tickets available.

Q: What is Buck-I-SERV (also known as the alternative breaks program)?

A: Buck-I-SERV is a weeklong, substance-free program centered on community service, held during the university's winter, spring, and summer breaks. Get more information on how to get involved with the 60+ domestic and international trips sponsored each year at http://ohiounion.osu.edu/get_involved/student_activity_fee/buckiserv

Q: What sort of accountability exists for organizations that get the largest share of the Activity Fee?

A: The primary beneficiaries of the Student Activity Fee funding are the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB), Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Council of Graduate Students (CGS), Inter-Professional Council (IPC), the Discount Ticket Program, and the Buck-I-SERV Advisory Board, which plans alternative break trips. All of those organizations must report on a per-semester basis to the Council on Student Affairs (CSA) Allocations Committee, sharing information about their budgets, their upcoming plans, and the success of their past programs. Those same groups must report on an annual basis to the full CSA committee. Because it receives the largest portion of the Activity Fee, OUAB must also report on a monthly basis to the Ohio Union Council, which is made up of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members.

Q: Who decides how the Student Activity Fee is allocated?

A: The Council on Student Affairs (CSA), which is a subcommittee of the University Senate, makes all decisions about the structure of the Student Activity Fee. CSA is a representative group of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, faculty members, and staff members. One of CSA's subcommittees, the Allocations Committee, reviews funding requests made by registered student organizations and makes decisions about approving those requests.

Q: Why did the Student Activity Fee increase from $15 to $25 in 2010?

A: The Council on Student Affairs (CSA) reviews the amount of the Fee every five years to assess its appropriateness and effectiveness. Based on student input, CSA recommended to the Board of Trustees a $10 increase, which the Trustees approved in September 2009. One reason for the increase in the Fee was to recover from inflationary erosion. What could be purchased in 2003 with $15 was demonstrably more than what could be purchased with that same amount in 2009. The $10 increase makes up for that erosion and ensures that the Fee will not need to be increased for at least the next four years. Other reasons for increasing the Fee are to enhance the effectiveness of existing programs like OUAB and the Discount Ticket Program and to establish funding for Signature Events.

Q: How can I find out about Student Activity Fee-funded events?

A: The most convenient way to make sure you hear about some of the great campus events and opportunities off-campus funded by the Fee is to sign up for the D-Tix and OUAB mailing lists. To find out about upcoming Discount Tickets (D-Tix) events, visit http://dtix.osu.edu. To learn about upcoming campus events sponsored by the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) and release dates for the tickets to those events, look for the "Sign Up" icon at http://ouab.osu.edu/.

Q: What's the difference between the Student Activity Fee and the Student Union Facility Fee?

A: The Student Activity Fee funds major campus events planned by the Ohio Union Activities Board, student organizations, student governments, the Discount Ticket Program (D-Tix), and Buck-I-SERV. The Student Union Facility Fee solely funds the costs associated with the construction and renewal of the Ohio Union. No Student Union Facility Fee dollars are used for programming.