CWU Student Body Approves Seven Dollar-Per-Quarter Athletics Fee Increase - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU Student Body Approves Seven Dollar-Per-Quarter Athletics Fee Increase

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. (May 22) -- The Central Washington University student body has overwhelmingly approved a fee increase of seven dollars per quarter as part of the Associated Students of Central Washington University (ASCWU) student elections that concluded on Thursday.

Pending approval by the CWU Board of Trustees, the passing of the student fee initiative in this week's elections will augment the quarterly athletics fee from $35 to $42. That $35 fee had been in place since 1997, the year before the Central Washington University athletics department became a member of the NCAA Division II.

"It is very gratifying to know that students have spoken in favor of athletics in such an overwhelming manner," said CWU Director of Athletics Jack Bishop. "We are all challenged by current financial difficulties, and with students facing a tuition increase next year, for them to support athletics in spite of those increases is absolutely phenomenal. Our students are the best, and on behalf of the athletic department, we want them to know how much we truly appreciate them for their support."

The initiative, voted upon by members of the Central Washington University student body, passed by a resounding 1,376 to 271 margin. A similar initiative, which had called for an $18-per-quarter increase with a 5 percent indexing annually, had been on the ballot last spring but failed by a slim 47-vote margin. Bishop credits the increased involvement of Wildcat student-athletes, as well as the involvement by current student body officers, in the success of the fee initiative passing this time around.

"I am extremely proud of our entire athletic family -- the administration, the coaches, and the student-athletes -- for their efforts with this project," Bishop said. "So many people deserve credit for helping make this initiative a success, but (assistant athletic director) Gary Hyatt especially deserves to be recognized for his efforts. It was also especially rewarding to be able to work with the ASCWU board of directors and to be able to be involved in their elections this year."

With an approximate full-time enrollment (FTE) of 9,000 students on the Ellensburg campus, the $7-per-quarter increase would mean approximately $189,000 more annually for the athletic department. The funding, which will be applied directly to sport program budgets, will be used to keep the athletic department competing at a high level within the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Since joining the GNAC in 2001-02, Central teams have won nine conference championships, with a total of 10 team appearances in the NCAA Division II postseason during that eight-year span.