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Student Groups Appeal ASA Finboard Allocations

By Aurora Schmidt

The Undergraduate Association Finance Board recently announced the results of fall appeals for student group funding.

A total of 51 student groups applied for additional fall funding. Of the 110 groups that submitted requests in the original budget compilation, 30 groups appealed their original allocation. Other appeals were from groups who failed to apply for money during the original allocation session.

The Undergraduate Association had a total of $191,420 to give to student groups this year. However, groups requested a total of $313,177.34 for this semester alone.

One of the groups that requested additional money did so only because its treasurer did not realize they had gotten money the during the spring budget compilation. Groove Phi Groove’s new treasurer requested $310 in funding, not realizing that the group had already received $800 from Finboard.

Finboard is currently planning to rescind $490 of the original allocation, and give Groove Phi Groove all of their $310 appeal.

Reactions to appeals mixed

Some groups were thrilled with the amount of money they received, said Finboard Chair Edgar H. Martinez ’00. Martinez said that he received letters of thanks from several groups that were pleased with the attention Finboard gave to their budget needs.

Other student groups like the Japanese Association of MIT and the Central American Students were told to go to the Graduate Student Association for money, because a majority of their members are graduate students.

“We mostly fund only groups that have a majority of undergraduates, unless they can present some special reason why they cannot get money from the GSC,” said Mendel Chuang ’02, a member of Finboard.

New Finboard rules take effect

This year’s appeals process was the first in which Finboard no longer allocated funds based on itemized requests. Instead Finboard allocated money for four separate categories of financial need, including operations, capital, events, and production and publicity.

This change allows groups more flexibility in the ways they can use their funds, Chuang said. “It is a good step towards making Finboard more student-group friendly,” said Chuang.

Some groups appealed merely to reorganize their funds. The MIT Marching Band, for example, appealed on record for over $2,000. However, the group was not requesting additional money, but just a reorganization of the uses for which the funds were allotted.

Days for budget changes created

Another change in Finboard procedure led to the addition of three days throughout each semester in which groups can reorganize their money or appeal for more funds. This change is intended to help groups who run into unforeseen expenses during the semester.

These budget reorganization days are also intended to increase the percentage of each grant spent by groups. In past years, groups have spent an average of 67 percent of the money they received from Finboard. The UA would like to increase this percentage to at least 85 percent.

By allowing groups to ask for more money during the term or change the uses for which money is allocated, the UA hopes to use its money more efficiently. Tomorrow will be the first of these updates for this semester.