Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) & Student Mental Health Fee Referendum

Do you approve of a new Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) & Student Mental Health Fee of $20.71 dollars per student per quarter effective fall 2020 (fall, winter, spring), increasing to $28.21 per student per quarter effective fall 2021, and increasing to $35.71 per quarter effective fall 2022? The fee will be assessed to all undergraduate and graduate students, will not expire, and will be subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of up to 4% beginning with fall 2023. Funds will be used to expand and increase the availability of CAPS and mental health services for all students, and increase funding to improve student mental health support and education.

The fee will be implemented as follows:








Prior year quarterly fee level
plus COLA not exceeding 4%

The CAPS and Student Mental Health Fee Referendum will support the following:

  1. 71% of this fee will be allocated to funding personnel and programming for CAPS and Health Promotion Services aimed at the prevention, education, and support of the mental health wellness of students throughout the calendar year.

  2. 29% of the total fee will be allocated to supporting the financial aid needs of students.

  3. A Student Mental Health Advisory Committee (SMHAC) will provide oversight of funds generated by the fee. A student will chair SMHAC and at least 80% of the voting membership will be students. The Associated Students, Graduate Student Association, and Vice Chancellors of Student Affairs and UC San Diego Health will write and approve the SMHAC charter.

    1. UC San Diego Health is requested to provide SMHAC with annual revenue and expense reports on the use of the fee no later than October 1st for the previous fiscal year. Annual budget reports will be made public and provided to all UC San Diego student governments.
    2. SMHAC will evaluate CAPS budget needs and make a recommendation for a change in fee levels to be reviewed and approved by the Chancellor beginning 2023-24.

      1. The committee will determine fee changes annually, limited to a maximum of 4.00% annually.

      2. Limits to any increase

        1. Recommended increases will only cover cost-of-living increases.

        2. Any increase greater than 4.00% would require a full student referendum vote.

  4. The fee revenue will be administered by UC San Diego Health in accordance to SMHAC and its oversight role.

  5. No portion of this fee will be used to compensate University employees unless their services are directly supporting student mental health services as determined by SMHAC.

  6. No portion of this fee will be used for capital improvement projects.

Modifications to this fee may not be made without subsequent student referendum held in accordance with the appropriate student governmental and University policies, unless other means are explicitly provided in this ballot language, campus, and/or University policy.

Pro Statement Con Statement

VOTE YES on the CAPS and Student Mental Health Fee Referendum. This fee would provide mental health resources for ALL UC San Diego students regardless of background, medical history, or ability to pay. This fee ensures there will be MORE STAFF in the CAPS offices for mental health care to reach all students and enough resources to allow for preventative care too. Unlike other campus fees, the CAPS and Student Mental Health Fee is going toward potentially lifesaving support and treatment for our student body. In recent years we have begun to face what many mental health professionals have described as a Mental Health Crisis as more students than ever face intense mental health issues. In this COVID-19 pandemic there are only more stressors that students are facing and more reasons for students to require easy access to Mental Health Care. It is our duty to ensure that all students on campus have EQUAL, FAST, and FAIR access to mental health. It is our duty to vote YES on this referendum.


  • An increase in counselors to match the UCOP recommended counselor to student ratio of 1,000 : 1 versus our current ratio of 1,321 : 1
  • The creation of SMHAC, a student-run committee with full control over the price of the fee and the ability to reduce it to $0 once needs have been met

If this vote fails:

  • We will have continued wait times of 21 days versus the recommended 10 day max
  • Students will have to turn to off-campus mental health care providers with out of pocket appointment costs upwards of $100 per visit

VOTE NO on the CAPS and Student Mental Health Fee Referendum. Student fees are a necessary evil that we must incur for some things on campus, however we should only allow for student fees in the utmost critical of situations.

We have enough fees at this point that students are overburdened as it is. Instead of creating superfluous fees for no reason, we should focus on improving how current fees are being used. Although there is a great demand for mental health care, it is simply not something students should be burdened to pay for at this time.

The University has already shown a complete lack of respect for student fees by refusing to refund unused student fees, and we cannot allow for another fee to be added to this list. Allowing the University any further control over student fees is simply unacceptable. As unfortunate as it is, we cannot burden students with a mental health fee at this time. As such, we must vote NO on the CAPS and Student Mental Health Fee Referendum.

A NO Vote guarantees:

  • Students pay no additional fees for something that should already be provided to students with current fees.
  • Our campus admin will have to look for funds in places that are not the students pocket
  • There is no change to the status quo of mental health resources on campus
Rebuttal To Pro Statement Rebuttal To Con Statement
The Pro statement suggests that students require a fee to fix the ongoing "mental health crisis". While there is no doubt that UC San Diego students are suffering from a mental health crisis, increasing student fees is no solution to this. The status quo options are able to handle this crisis as well as possible without increasing the burden on students. Finally, all students should ask themselves if the student run advisory board can be trusted to control this fee? Which students are going to be on the board? Ensuring that the student body has complete control of this fee is a necessity.

Paying for Mental Health Care IS a burden - this fee aims to lessen the burden for students spending 100's of dollars off campus. Students utilizing CAPS have positive experiences, meaning that care from CAPS is impactful and effective, but lack of funding prevents them from serving everyone. Allowing the University more control over student fees is unacceptable, but the need for Mental Health Care is dire - we cannot wait for the University to act. A VOTE YES ensures that the fee will be controlled and monitored BY STUDENTS who, once the need is met, can reduce the fee to $0.