Student Government begins budget hearings

Madison Fantozzi/News Director

The Student Government Association will have budget hearings Feb. 6 and 7 with organizations seeking money from the activity and services fee — a $12.37 per credit hour charge that every student pays to the University.

While last year’s budget was $16.1 million, this year’s pot has not been determined. SGC-MMC President Liane Sippin thinks it will be close to last year’s amount, but it will not be certain until Feb. 11 at the earliest, according to the Activity and Services Business Office.

“Every year is different, but I don’t think there will be any dramatic difference in the budget this year than last,” Sippin said. “What’s important is that we allocate the money based on the services and activities the organizations makes available to the students.”

[pullquote]“This is the students’ money so all students should be able to use these services.”[/pullquote]

Organizations that use A&S fees include Student Affairs, Greek Affairs and the Center for Leadership.

Fixed expenses like payroll salaries are immediately taken from the budget, as well as dual enrollment waivers.

The remaining money is divided among University-wide, Modesto Maidique Campus and Biscayne Bay Campus organizations that present proposed budgets to the association in two weeks of hearings.

Last year, $2.6 million was deducted from the budget immediately, $8.5 million was allotted University-wide, $2.7 million was MMC-specific and $1 million was BBC-specific.

Sippin noted that the money is split between MMC and BBC based on an enrollment formula that takes into account the amount of classes taken at each campus.

SGA will hear from University-wide organizations Thursday and Friday, BBC-specific organizations on Feb. 19 and MMC-specific organizations on Feb. 20.

“We look at what they got the year before, what they spent and what they want this year,” Sippin said.

She used Alternative Breaks — a community-service-based organization — as an example of an organization that is accessible to all students.

“Any student can apply. All students have an equal chance,” Sippin said. “Every student pays the A&S fee so it only seems fair that we budget to those organizations accordingly.”

She said it is important that the votes are by the students, for the students.

Students were quoted in a Nov. 5, 2013 article titled “Students paying hefty fee, not taking advantage of services entitled to them” saying that campus events are poorly promoted.

Sippin used the Freshman Luau as an example. Last year, the association budgeted for more marketing for the event after it heard that some freshman were unaware of the event.

“It’s what the students wanted,” Sippin said. “This year we will look at if they put in more effort and how they spent that money.”

“The primary goal is that the student votes make sure programs and services are accessible and used by the students.”

– madison.fantozzi@fiusm.com

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