Following the passage of Students’ Initiative last Fall Quarter, the Associated Students Legislative Council annual audit revealed a substantial increase in total revenue and spending at yesterday’s meeting.
The audit, which was conducted by Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co., detailed A.S. financial issues and focused on the new funds from the Students’ Initiative. The initiative increased student fees quarterly by $100 per student with an additional $33 return-to-aid surcharge. The council also heard a proposal to add a $40 lock-in fee for the Spring Quarter elections.
According to auditor Andy Simonsen, the Students’ Initiative completely changed A.S.’s financial situation.
“[This is a] pretty significant change from last year,” Simonsen said. “Cash position alone has doubled. You’re stewards of a lot bigger pot than you were last year.”
That pot almost doubled, growing from $4,701,927 in total revenues in the 2005-06 fiscal year to $8,156,929 for 2006-07. With the increase in revenue, expenses also jumped from $4,631,434 in 2006 to $7,387,168 this year. Additionally, A.S.’s net assets rose from $1,283,866 to $2,053,627 during the same respective period.
Auditor Jeff Harris said since each year’s student body pays for that fiscal year, spending should return in line to the total revenues for their time at the university.
“The goal should be to spend all your money that year,” Harris said. “The [students] are really the ones who should get the benefit of that spending.”
However, auditor Mark Jackson said the year’s leftover money resulted from the Students’ Initiative’s passage in the middle of the year, with students often unaware of the funding available.
“[A.S.] staff has handled the increase very well,” Jackson said. “The staff didn’t have time to work with the students to train them how to get new funds. They got bombarded. Now they’re telling me they have training in place to really educate them in ways to come about getting the funds. It’s really going to help with the whole process.”
Later in the meeting, A.S. Technology Services Chair Bay Grabowski brought to the council’s attention that several technology departments around campus are considering placing a $40 quarterly fee on the campuswide Spring Election ballot to improve wireless around campus and make other technological improvements.
However, several members questioned the need for the lock-in fee, which would go through the Student Fee Advisory Committee.
“It seems like a lot of money for me to check my Facebook in classes,” proxy Dan Plotkin said. “Is it really worth it?”
A.S. President Stephanie Brower said she believes the university needs to provide some monetary assistance prior to requesting student aid.
“Before asking for anymore student money, we need to have a deal with the university, whether matching fees or something [else],” Brower said. “Before they keep asking for more fees, there should be some plans and university backing.”
Meanwhile, the council tabled two bills concerning a committee name change and adding voter registration duties for members. Next week A.S. will hold a working meeting in the A.S. main office. The council will discuss future projects.