Student health fee increased to $21 for 2019 to 2020 academic year


Students walk through campus and pass by the Health Center on Monday, Oct. 7. The student health fee recently increased during the fall 2019 semester to $21. Omar Rashad/The Union

The student health fee at El Camino College was increased to $21 after the Board of Trustees voted to approve the change during a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 3 to match changes made by the state of California.

When the state of California increases its mandatory fee, the El Camino Community College District is required to increase their fee by the same percentage according to ECC Board Policy 5030 based on the Price Deflator by the U.S. Department of Commerce, established in 2009.

Jean Shankweiler, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said she did not know if ECC had this policy before the official policy was established.

“It may have been in effect before that, I don’t know. It was just formalized as a board policy in 2009,” Shankweiler said.

ECC’s Health Center receives money to run its operations from the health fee alone and there are no outside funding services that help support it, Susan Nilles, Coordinator and Nurse Practitioner at the Student Health Center, said.

“We get zero, as in zero money from the general fund. So we are solely supported by the student health fee alone,” Nilles said. “Then you will see why it is important [how] every dollar counts for the increase. They’re not making us pay for utilities so that’s something, but our budget is solely the health fee.”

Veronica Chaidez, psychology major, said she was fine with the fee increase even though she was unaware of it.

“I think it’s fine. I didn’t really notice so, I think it’s fine. I don’t really see the point but at the same time I feel like other people use it. So I don’t mind if it went up by $1,” said Chaidez.

Nilles said the last time the fee increased was in the spring 2017 semester when it rose to $20.

Shankweiler also said the health fee is important for supporting all of the services provided at the Health Center.

Shankweiler explained how the costs of the services and employee salaries have increased and how they are providing more services for students.

“So that’s why we need the student health fee in order to provide services to the students,” Shankweiler said. “The costs of vaccines have increased. We offer psychological services that we didn’t use to offer. We have to pay the people who work there and salaries have increased.”

When asked if the Student Health Center would be able to provide the services without the fee increase, Shankweiler said the Health Center would probably not be able to offer all their services.

Nilles said the fee increase is important to meet demand since more students are coming into the Health Center which means there are more costs needed to be covered.