Where Does Your Student Activity Fee Go?

If it’s coming from your wallet, you should know where it’s going! Find out who gets your $97.

    Every USF undergraduate student pays a $97 activity fee as part of their tuition. Although minuscule in comparison to the $50,000 plus a year students pay for tuition, the student activity fee benefits many organizations on campus that directly affect the student body.

The Finance Committee of ASUSF Senate holds a budget workshop every February in which they evaluate funding for each campus

2013-2014 year SLE Funded Account budgets.
2013-2014 year SLE Funded Account budgets.

organization and walk through the entire budgeting process with two executives from each organization, according to Maddy Meininger, VP of Business Administration for ASUSF Senate.

Then, in March, the Finance Committee gives each organization a proposed budget. Later in the month, Senate holds a hearing in which all funded accounts are given 30 minutes to present if they want to dispute the proposed budget. Then Senate sits down and talks through all the budget proposals and any appeals to decide what is reasonable and feasible.

If the total subsidies don’t match up exactly with the student activity fee, the excess money goes into the reserves account, which currently contains $593,371 according to Marci Nunez, Director for Student Involvement at Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE). The reserves account is “a mini buffer that is still technically in the operating budget,” says Meininger. When not all the money is spent, the remainder goes back into reserves and sits there in case of emergency, she said.

If an organization submits a line change — meaning they want to change the allocation of their money and/or want more funding — the organization submits a request form. In this case, said Meininger, “the reserves is accessed if senate deems it necessary.” Each organization can apply for funding in the following categories: events, travel, and internal development.

According to Taylor Jackson, senior religious studies major and member of Finance Committee, the reserves account is similar to an adult’s savings account, in that it is always safer to have extra money set aside. “It is extremely rare to break even,” she said. “Prices fluctuate and last minute things come up.”

The only other way the reserves can be accessed is if anyone affiliated with the University makes a request for something that Senate thinks will affect the entire student body. If the request exceeds $10,000, such as the cost of the public safety van which was taken from the reserves account, the person/organization must get signatures from over ten percent of the student body. If these signatures are obtained, funds are granted.

In the event that Senate denies funding/a portion of funding to a given organization, it is not necessarily because the money is not available in the reserves, according to Jackson. When deciding whether or not to add funding, they seek to determine if it will indeed “benefit the organization and if it is a good use for the money,” said Jackson. They aim to cater to the student body as a whole, not just a small portion, she explained.

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