Student groups might not be able to rely on Associated Students for financial help as much this year as last because of significant reductions in available funds.
A.S. Finance Board Chair Bill Schiebler said the group has about $10,000 this year that can be given to student groups for events, compared to about $70,000 available during the 2003-04 school year. Various increases in expenses, changes in accounting practices and decreased revenue from capital investments accounted for the decrease in available funds, Schiebler said.
“Every single year, the cost of running A.S. increases, such as the electricity and water bills, and we decided not to re-charge some groups with lock-in fees because it was [financially] hurting them,” he said.
In the last few years, A.S. has been re-charging organizations a percentage of their lock-in fees to pay for the administrative cost of managing their accounts. The percentage of re-charges taken from lock-in fees varies from group to group, and some organizations do not incur re-charge fees.
Lock-ins are part of the quarterly student fees paid to A.S., but are specifically allocated to a certain on-campus organization and cannot be used by student government.
Money allocated to student groups by the Finance Board comes from the A.S. unallocated fund, which is comprised of funds remaining after the various A.S. boards and committees are given money for their pre-budgeted annual operating costs.
Schiebler said A.S. would not be able to continue contributing funds toward on-campus events next year if new revenue is not generated.
“By next year, we’ll have zero money if things keep up the way they are going,” he said.
In addition to giving money to student events this year, A.S. President Cervin Morris said Finance Board would offer technical assistance to organizations seeking funding.
“Our liaisons are going to be doing a lot more work,” he said. “They are going to be showing students different places that they can go for funding.”
The amount of money in the unallocated fund, as well as the overall operating budget of A.S., has steadily declined in recent years. A.S. has attempted to increase student fees in the past to help its ailing financial situation, but undergraduate students voted down the measures.
“Ten years ago, we were giving out $200,000 per year [to student groups],” Schiebler said.