Following an endorsement from a group of Northern Arizona University students, the Arizona Board of Regents voted at its meeting in Tucson on March 8 to approve a new $25 per semester student activity fee that will take effect in the fall.

Four NAU students addressed the board to express their support for the student activity fee, which may be used to bring more speakers and entertainment to campus, enhance campus events such as Homecoming, expand the after-dark Saferide program and possibly eliminate or reduce the number of user fees for campus recreational facilities.

“These ideas would enrich and paint our campus with liveliness, making our lives as college students a lot more dynamic and diverse,” Michael Tillmon of the Associated Students of NAU told the board.

Eric Norgard, president of ASNAU, also spoke in favor of the student activity fee and told the regents that the student senate had voted to support the fee. An ASNAU-sponsored student survey last fall also indicated support for the fee.

The regents also approved a $1 per credit hour increase in the information technology student fee for 2007-08. The total $3 per credit hour fee, capped at 12 hours per semester, will enable NAU to strengthen its network infrastructure and provide wireless access throughout its campuses.

In other action, the board approved new residence hall and meal plan rates for 2007-08. Residence hall room rates for single-student housing will increase by an average of $130 (3.96 percent) annually. The rates for family apartments will increase by $25 per month (4 percent).

The university’s meal plan, which is required for freshmen and optional for upperclassmen, will go up an average of $121 (4.4 percent) for the year.

Additional board items included overviews of activities related to the Technology and Research Initiative Fund for 2002-06 as well as budgets, business plans and projects for the 2007-11 TRIF cycle. TRIF is funded by revenue generated by a sales tax increase approved by voters in 2000 to support education.

Liz Grobsmith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, told the regents that the majority of TRIF projects at NAU are dedicated to access and workforce development and to e-learning.

“Our focus is quite different from our sister institutions,” Grobsmith said, noting a greater emphasis on research at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.

The total increase to NAU’s original fiscal year 2007 TRIF budget is $4.3 million in FY 2007 and $13.5 million over the original FY 2007-11 five-year budget. The $4.3 million this fiscal year will be split between the expansion of health-care programs and expansion of statewide programming.

The regents also granted project approval for the planned suite-style residence hall in the center of campus, and approved project implementation for the University Union dining hall expansion.