Student organizations face large funding deficit
March 11, 2015
Student organizations on the UW-River Falls campus will find each other with roughly one-fifth the amount of requested budget funds next year due to a lack of allocated money, according to a student budgeting official.
In an email interview with Allocable Fees Appropriation Board (AFAB) Chair Dylan Asp, the official stated that the total amount of money requested by student organizations for next year’s budget totaled $506,710.82. This is compared to the total available money for next year’s organizations: $114,695.64.
With such a big gap between these two numbers, many, if not all, student organizations should expect to see requested budgets fall very short. Between the 51 allocations that were requested for next year, out of the 75 organizations that attended annual budget training, according to Asp, a total of roughly $2,250 would be available per organization if it were evenly split. If the money were available, the average amount given to each organization would be about $9,950.
It is not uncommon, however, for an organization to submit a budget request which vastly exceeds the amount actually required to run a organization. While this could be a contributing factor to this discrepancy, it is certainly not the only cause.
According to the UWRF website's information on allocated segregated fees, students taking eight or more credits are paying a total of $40.40 per year, not including students who take classes over J-term or summer, to fund student organizations on campus.
This budget difference is one of many budgeting issues to be facing UWRF lately. With Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cut proposal and Student Senate’s cuts to student media funding, many students are feeling disheartened by these changes.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that there are so many organizations hoping for so much money and it will be difficult for AFAB to allocate it out,” said Emily Johnson, editor-in-chief of Prologue, a creative arts publication and organization on campus. “However, some organizations deserve, not more money, but their budget needs more money to function.”
UWRF may not be quite up-to-par when it comes to its student org funding. UW-La Crosse not only has more students than UWRF, but had a total organized activities fee of $60.59 for the 2014-15 academic year, according to their website -- $20.19 more than UWRF.
Senate has already finalized budgets for all student organizations, according to Sen. Brady Murphy, besides those residing within the Student Media Committee (Student Voice, WRFW, Focus on U and Prologue), which are slated to be deliberated on by Senate during its next meeting on March 24. The budgets are set to be approved and finalized by Chancellor Dean Van Galen sometime in early April.
With this information, it is apparent that it varies between colleges how much money is set aside for student organizations. In this regard, UWRF falls roughly on the lower end. Student organizations on campus should be weary that, when applying for a budget next year, each organization will likely have to have a contingency plan to account for the limited funds available.