During this year’s budget hearing cycle, student organizations requested a record $342,000 from Associated Student Government (ASG), but just under 60 percent of that total was approved by ASG.
The discrepancy between these two figures, said ASG’s secretary of finance Alex Cary, is the result of a policy implemented to provide student organizations with more opportunities to get funding.
The policy, which was implemented last spring, calls for ASG to conduct multiple funding hearings each semester and for student organizations to include quotes from third parties in their budgets. Together with a stricter set of guidelines for funding requests, these measures, Cary said, have been found to make the allocation process more efficient and, ultimately, to cut back on funds being reclaimed by ASG at the end of the cycle.
Prior to this policy, rates of unspent funds “swept back” into ASG accounts or reappropriated were relatively high. But under the new policy, sweepback percentages have steadily declined, and only 21 percent of funds were reallocated this semester.
But the combination of student organizations’ more efficient use of funds and ASG’s decrease in reappropriated funds has caused the aggregate budget allocated to student organizations to decrease.
“We’re not getting back as much money, and as a result of this new system, we’re seeing requests skyrocket,” Cary said.
In order to account for this budget deficit, ASG is allocating 10 percent fewer funds than initially approved during funding hearings. Cary said this solution emerged from ASG’s policy of approving all funds within its funding guidelines, while remaining within the constraints of its own budget.
“In order to be fair and equal and equitable to all student organizations, we have to cut everybody across the board,” Cary said. “We’re working to hopefully find a more permanent solution for fiscal year .”
Cary is hopeful that the 10 percent cutback will be a one-time measure.
For Cary, the budget deficit signifies more efficiently allocated funds to more student organizations.
“Our goal as ASG is to get student life as active on campus as possible,” Cary said.