The Texas Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would allow the student union fee to be increased at UTA.

The student union fee is a mandatory part of each students’ tuition and fees used to maintain and improve the University Center and its programs.

In 2018 the student union fee was $39 each semester, including summer semesters. If the Texas House of Representatives approves of amendments made in the Senate, the fee could be raised to $150 in the spring and fall semesters and $75 in the summer.

The House has until Friday at midnight to concur with the amendment made in the Senate by Sen. Beverly Powell. Then the bill heads for the governor’s desk for final approval.

Once the amendment is approved, the fee increase will have to be approved by the student body and then by the UT System Board of Regents.

The fee increase will be voted on by a student referendum, said John Hall, vice president for administration and campus operations, in an email.

The increase must be approved by a majority vote held in a general election at the university. The proposition on the ballot must clearly state the amount of the increase and describe the reason for the increase, according to the bill.

Students could also be consulted in a variety of ways including town hall meetings, Pizza with the President, Student Government, social media and more, he said.

“The important aspect here is to ensure communication is effective and reaches all our students,” Hall said.

The UT System Board of Regents would have to approve the student body referendum and then would have to approve of the agreed upon fee increase, he said.

The fee increase would be the first increase in about 35 years, said Rep. Chris Turner in a House Higher Education Committee hearing on the bill in March.

The University Center has facility renewal needs because of the age of the building, Hall said. Additional planned improvements will be discussed with students to gain their input and recommendations, he said.

The university has not yet determined when the fee increase will go into effect, Hall said.

@HeitmeierDalton

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

Dalton Heitmeier is the 86th Texas Legislature beat reporter.

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