The Student Association Finance Committee received appeals from 66 organizations after doling out more than $854,000 of its $1.05 million budget for the year during initial allocations.
The 11-member finance committee distributed about 85 percent of SA funds during the fall round of allocations. A total of 292 organizations received funding, ranging from $73,825 for the Student Bar Association to $50 per group for six organizations, to cover operational costs and programming, with co-sponsorships available for additional expenses.
In past years, the committee has doled out just half the SA’s total budget during initial allocations intended to cover each organization’s operating cost for the year. Last year’s bill divided just under half of the budget’s $930,000 among 270 student organizations.
SA Finance Committee chair John Bennett said although few groups appealed their funding in past years, the committee intentionally set aside “a large cushion” for the appeals process this year.
A total of $27,000 was distributed among the 44 student groups who won their appeals.
“When a group submitted a budget that was particularly vague, we tended to be more conservative with their allocations anticipating they might appeal,” Bennett said.
For the first time this year, groups were asked to lay out all their budgetary items for the year in their SA funding applications. Bennett said many groups had not finalized their plans by the Sept. 23 application deadline.
The SA Finance Committee was careful not to over-fund groups during the first round of allocations, Bennett said.
“We knew that if we overshot with funding, we couldn’t just take the money back. There are always more opportunities to get funding later,” he said.
The Student Association unanimously approved the initial allocations bill, which included the appeals, without debate or amendments at the senate meeting Monday night.
The GW Law School’s student government received more than $3,800 in appeals – double that of any other student organization.
The Student Bar Association complained that their original allocation of $69,000 meant law students were essentially funding undergraduate groups because the money they paid in student fees was not returned through the allocations.
Bennett said the SA Finance Committee allotted the additional money to repay the law students’ fees. Every student pays $1.50 for each credit hour they take at the University, and the Board of Trustees contributes an additional 50 cents per credit hour paid.
Last year, the Student Bar Association received about $92,000 because the finance committee’s bylaws required allocations to graduate student groups to match the fees paid by each graduate student at GW. That bylaw was amended in 2011.
Program Board received $60,000, the second highest allocation and Medical Center Student Council received the third highest amount at $51,000.
Bennett said numbers were finalized just a week before, adding about $50,000 more than expected to the funding pool. Earlier this year the SA Finance Committee estimated their budget to be about $950,000.