Associated Students recently uncovered $28,000 that it can use to fund student groups. The money, while not much by standards of student governments past, is a welcome change for an organization that expected to have no discretionary funds for the school year.

The windfall means A.S. has money to distribute at its Finance Board meeting every Monday in the Flying A Room of the UCen. The A.S. Finance Board provides funds throughout the year to students and organizations. The money has gone to culture weeks, concerts, alcohol-free Halloween parties, on-campus speakers and to cover official travel costs of A.S.’s executive officers.

This is a long way from the A.S. of two years ago when a booming economy left A.S. with over $100,000 in discretionary funds. The stock market’s bust took roughly $1 million out of the student government’s budget and left it to rely on its base fee, which has not been raised in 30 years.

A.S. President Chrystine Lawson said A.S. will split the $28,000 over three quarters, allotting 30 percent for fall, 30 percent for winter, and 40 percent for spring.

“This $28,000 is nothing compared to what we’ve had to fund student groups in the past,” Lawson said. “A few years ago, we had $100,000 to give out to student groups. … They’ll end up spending more time fund-raising than doing what they’re raising money to do.”

Don Daves-Rougeaux, who oversees student government for UCSB as the executive director of Associated Students, said it would be difficult to spread this year’s money among student groups.

“Obviously, A.S. is there for the students,” Daves-Rougeaux said. “However, $28,000 is miniscule in comparison to the more than 300 registered student groups on campus.”

Most of the money, $20,619.21, was left over from last year’s honorariums; flat monetary sums paid every quarter to A.S. officers. Another $6,585 was collected from students who enrolled late, A.S. Finance Board Chair Manuel Silva said

“If more students enroll than projected, say 12 more, that’s another $100.00 needed by the Finance Board to do our job for the student body,” Silva said.

Another $410.01 came from a voided check, Silva said, and the remaining $675.15 is most likely a refund of administrative costs and other fees from the university. Silva said since the A.S. Finance Board will not have much money this year, it will also help students find their funding from other organizations. Student organizations may write grant proposals and ask for funds from academic departments, the Residence Hall Association, chancellors or local businesses, Silva said.

“We will just use this money to fund student groups – as many as we can,” Silva said. “We will have to take a more proactive approach this year,” he said, “and help the groups find funds elsewhere.”

Daves-Rougeaux said that if it doesn’t get a raise in its base fee this year, A.S. will not pay members of student government. A.S. will not be able to dig up funds the same way next year, he said.

“Will there be a rollover of this money for next year?” he said. “No. Next year, A.S. is looking at a huge deficit.”