Student government plans to increase health fee

Next week, USG and GPSA will vote on whether or not to increase health fee by $15

Associated Students of Arizona State University is proposing an expansion to health and wellness services at ASU funded by increasing the mandatory health fee by $15.

Each campuses' student government is holding a vote in the next week during their regular Senate meeting. Currently, students pay $40 for health services in their tuition payment each semester. 

With the increase, students would pay $55 for health services per semester, adding up to $110 per year.

ASASU toyed with the idea of increasing the fee by different amounts but eventually settled on $15, according to Brittany Benedict, marketing and business senior and the Undergraduate Student Government Tempe president.

"When totals came out to us with how many students we had and what it would look like with $20, we thought we don't want to overcharge our students for no reason," Benedict said. 

The Council of Presidents, which includes the student government presidents of each ASU campus, proposed this increase in order to offer more resources. 

The increase would fund extended weekday and weekend ASU Health Services hours, low-cost referrals for behavioral health services and Telehealth programs. Other features include increasing specialized care and expanding women's health and nutritional services.

Health Services provides students with access to over 20 physicians and nurse practitioners who are certified in internal medicine, sports medicine and rheumatology. 

The clinic also provides counseling services staffed with counselors, psychologists and social workers.

Between 2013 and 2017, students visiting Health Services in Tempe increased by 14 percent. The number of students who used Counseling Services on Tempe campus grew by 79 percent in that same time period, according to Samantha Hernandez,  the president of Graduate and Professional Student Association and a political science doctoral candidate. 

Those growing numbers show the need for extending health services, Hernandez said. 

"One of the problems that comes with the way that the campuses are spread out, is having enough – with the current fee – to pay for all of these services," Hernandez said. 

As part of the fee change, ASASU is planning to implement online health services including online diagnoses through Telehealth. ASASU says services like these would benefit international, traveling, out-of-state and online students.

Educational studies senior and Senate President Breonn Peoples said it would help students that live here but do not necessarily come on campus everyday. 

"Students that live here but that could be out-of-state still, but they chose to take all of their classes as icourses ... and maybe they work full time ... they would like to have those services," Peoples said. 

Although a Reddit post called for students to "help us stop another mandatory ASU fee increase," no one showed up at the forum to speak out against the fee. 

In comments on the Reddit post, a Redditor with the username SmartTradition called the student government members "a bunch of sellouts." 

A user named Karmakazes commented "as if we aren't already being gouged enough already."

Each campus student government will officially vote on the proposal next week. USGT will vote on the increase Feb. 13, USGP will vote Feb. 15 and USGD, USGW and GPSA will vote Feb. 16. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @tinamaria_4 on Twitter.

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