Emily Jacobsson / Sun Graphic Designer

According to the Cornell Undergraduate Admissions web page, students receiving aid are expected to make a contribution to their academic needs during the semester through the student contribution fee. Two groups are organizing a teach-in to give students a "safe-space" to discuss these policies.

November 15, 2018

Students Host Teach-In to Discuss Student Contribution Fee

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The People’s Organizing Collective hopes to create a “safe space” by hosting a “teach-in” discussion about the controversial student contribution fee on Thursday.

The event, co-hosted by Cornell’s First Generation Student Union, will allow “undergrads to ask questions, speak to their own experiences, and connect with students organizing against predatory financial aid policies,” according to the event’s Facebook Page titled “Any Person, Any Study-Any Tax Bracket?” The meeting will take place in Rockefeller 103 at 5 p.m.

“The intention behind this event is to facilitate a conversation between students and a number of admin on the effects of and purpose behind the student contribution,” Daniel Bromberg ’20 said in an email to The Sun. Bromberg is an officer and a founder of the People’s Organizing Collective.

Bromberg and other members of the People’s Organizing Collective campaign previously protested the fee when they delivered a letter and a petition to Interim Director of Financial Aid Colleen Wright on Oct. 17, The Sun previously reported. According to Bromberg, Wright is set to attend Thursday’s meeting.

According to the University’s undergraduate admissions page, the fee is meant to be paid for through a Summer Savings Expectation and a Student Contribution from Assets.

The SSE is a University-determined amount of savings from the previous summer’s job that is meant to be spent during the academic year. The SCA represents a 25 percent contribution from assets held in the student’s name.

According to the admissions page, the “student contribution will not be billed directly to the student; rather, it is money that the student will need to purchase transportation to Cornell, textbooks and supplies, and personal items.” The University encourages students to plan to spend half of the total fee each semester.

Freshmen are required to pay $2,700 for the fee. As students get older, they are expected to contribute more. Seniors are required to pay $3,700.

At the meeting on Thursday, students will discuss “the administration’s stance on the student contribution, their reasonings behind its implementation, the negative repercussions of the student contribution, and what can be done to assuage such repercussions,” Bromberg said.

About 200 people have responded to the event on Facebook. The group expects about 50 students to attend.

Bromberg considers the fee “an unnecessary burden for an array of students,” and hopes to empower students through this meeting.

“We would like to facilitate a community for all students affected by this policy,” Bromberg said. “And we would like to raise awareness about this policy.”

The event’s Facebook page encourages students to submit their testimonials about the contribution fee prior to the event.