The UA Finance Board’s IAP/Spring 2011 budget allocation for student groups increased 37 percent from 2010. This increase is not due to more available funds but owes to a larger over-allocation percentage in the Finboard budget. The over-allocation percentage, which is the percent Finboard gives over its available funds in the apprehension that some will not be spent, was previously set at 10 percent during the 2009-2010 year. It rose to 30 percent in Fall 2010 and then to 40 percent in Spring 2011.
According to UA Senator Rachel Meyer ’11, the over-allocation percentage was increased because previous data indicated that groups won’t spend all the money given to them. Even if groups do spend all their allocated money, the difference could be covered by reserve or rollover funds from previous semesters.
The groups receiving the most funding this IAP/Spring term are Habit for Humanity, Association of Puerto Rican Students, and Chinese Student’s Club. Habitat for Humanity and Chinese Student’s Club were also among the top ten groups to receive most funding for the IAP/Spring 2010 cycle.
Javier E. Ramos ’12, treasurer of the Association of Puerto Rican Students, said that his group received more funding this semester because they were more involved in finboard office hours and finboard in general. Ramos also noted that his group did every activity it budgeted for last semester.
According to the UA Finboard Chair Cynthia A. Bouldrick ’11, Finboard members inspect and discuss every group’s budget defense, which details the reasons for a groups’ financial request. Finboard assigns and approves funding numbers to each student group. The budget allocations are then sent to the UA Senate for further approval. For better funding approval from the UA, student organizations are recommended to have a thorough budget defense. The UA also considers a student group’s spending history, former UA Treasurer Ellen B. McIsaac ’12 said. Groups also get an increase in their funding if they are hosting new events.
New budget policies
In an e-mail sent to student groups, Finboard and the Senate announced new budget policies which included lifting caps on travel and costumes for the recent allocation cycle. There is now a new funding category for “Medium Sized Events” that cost between $1,000 and $2,500. In addition, there will now be two funding cycles per semester instead of only one per semester.
According to Meyer, the changes in number of funding cycles were made because there were concerns of underspending or overspending.
“Most student groups don’t plan far enough,” McIsaac said. “We just wanted to make it easier for student groups to access funding.”
The Senate has approved the creation of a temporary committee to assist in reviewing the new Finboard policy over IAP and early spring semester. The committee will be comprised of members from the Senate, Finboard, the Association of Student Activities, and UA-funded undergraduate student groups. Meyer says that the committee will discuss the implementation of the new policies.
Finboard’s new policies met with mixed reaction. Jacky Lau ’11, treasurer of the Chinese Student’s Club, said “I would rather just do it [the funding application] once rather than twice. I’ve been in the club for three years. I have a lot of experience — I usually know which events we’ll have. It takes quite a lot to finish your budget defense.”
“[Filling out] the same application four times a year would be difficult,” Ramos said, but also added that he would not object to “a shorter, more streamlined, more frequent application.”
However, the co-president of Habitat for Humanity, Joshua D. Cohen ’12 said two allocation cycles would help with event planning, allowing groups more flexibility.