Who can request money from the Student Finance Board?
Although budget requests are limited to recognized student organizations and subordinate councils, everyone (students, faculty, staff, administration, and organizations) can request discretionary funds!
What are discretionary funds?
Discretionary funds consist of all of the money that is not currently committed to a project, improvement, or other need. It is calculated by taking our current liquid assets (checking account, short-term certificate of deposit, etc.) and subtracting all approved claims (organization budgets, outstanding bills to vendors, etc.)
How can I find out how much discretionary money is available?
Download the Asset Projection from the Financial Statements & Annual Reports section of this site.
One caveat: The Student Finance Board realizes that capital allocation is a zero-sum game. Every dollar that is spent is a dollar that cannot be used elsewhere. For that reason, we heed the words of Warren E. Buffett, "You do things when the opportunities come along. I've had periods in my life when I've had a bundle of ideas come along, and I've had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I'll do something. If not, I won't do a damn thing." We do not allow our financial prosperity to lower our threshold of acceptable programming and projects. In other words, your chances of success are not greater when we are flush with cash. The reason? Every project must be judged on merit alone, not our financial condition at the time it is presented. Someday, we may have an excellent project that will tap every resource at our disposal; we want to make sure our successors have the ability to take advantage of it when the opportunity presents itself.
How does the approval process work?
Put together a proposal / presentation complete with cost-break downs and vendor quotes. Download the Request for Discretionary form, fill in the blanks electronically, print and sign it. Affix this to a copy of your proposal and submit the packet to the Student Finance Board box in the Office of the Dean of Students. After this step has been completed, contact the SFB to schedule an appearance at the next available meeting.
How can I increase my chances of success?
Show up to the SFB meeting to make your case! History has proven time and time again that those that can intelligently present their proposal and field questions from the trustees have a much higher chance of success. Additionally, approvals are based on four criterion:
1. The percentage of the student body benefiting
How many of the students paying into the Student Activity Fee are likely to participate in or benefit from the expenditure should it be approved? The higher the number, the greater the chance of success.
2. The length of benefit
Is the event going to last two hours, several days, or several years? The longer the event benefit, the greater the weight given to the proposal.
3. The amortized annual cost of the request.
The Lounge Improvement Program, for example, cost $23,698.93. Assuming the assets acquired will last eight years, have no salvage value, and that half of the student body lives on campus (200 students) the actual cost allocation of the project was approximately $7.41 per benefiting student, per semester for that time period. Compared to a social event that cost $1,200 and has 100 students attending; in the latter case, the expense is approximately $12 per benefiting student, the event is over in a few hours, and there is no residual asset that has economic value.
4. Does the request further the agenda of the SGA?
This year, for example, the focus is on integration and connecting with commuter / graduate students. Proposals that are designed to further these initiatives are going to receive greater weight. Additionally, requests that can demonstrate a positive influence on student retention will be given much higher consideration.
What are the restrictions to funding?
The restrictions can be found in the Constitution & By-Laws. Generally speaking, however, approved projects and programs must be open to the entire student body. The Freshman class, for example, could not use funds provided by the SFB to host a Freshman-only party. Additionally, funds cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol or any other substance prohibited by University policy.
What does "Paid for by the SAF" mean?
If a project or program has been supported by revenue from the Student Activity Fee, any and all publicity must contain the words "Paid for by the SAF" prominently displayed. In the event this requirement is not met, ten percent (10%) of the approval amount will be rescinded and / or the organization or individual will not be permitted to submit future requests to the SFB.
What are Executive Approvals?
In the ordinary course of business, there are often small requests that present themselves. In order to save time, the Student Body Treasurer has the authority to authorize expenditures of up to $250 per request, per event or project without consulting with the Student Finance Board. The SFB must be informed of these approvals at the weekly meeting and can suspend said authority if it believes it is being abused.
What is an Executive Veto?
The Student Body Treasurer has the authority to veto Student Finance Board approvals. At the next regularly schedule Senate meeting, he must inform the Senate of his/her decision. The veto can be overturned by a vote of five or more SFB trustees.
What if I need to reallocate funds that have already been approved?
The Student Body Treasurer has the authority to approve requests for reallocations of previously approved funds provided that the reallocations do not differ materially in the intent of the original approval and do not amount to over five percent of the SGA's annual revenue from the mandatory student activity fee. This power can be restricted or suspended by the SFB if it believes it is being abused.
How do I get reimbursed for an expenditure that was approved?
If you have paid for an approved expenditure out of pocket, fill out a Request for Reimbursement form, attach original copies of receipts and submit it to the Student Body Treasurer's box in the Office of the Associate Dean of Students. The paperwork will be picked up on Friday mornings; checks will be available for pickup in ADOS by the following Monday.