The recently approved 2005-06 Associated Students annual budget totals close to $5.8 million and comes entirely from student fees, according to A.S. president and former finance director Chad Charton.
Every year, A.S. allocates funds to student clubs and organizations, university programs, support services, its own government business, and other areas.
“The biggest and most wonderful change in the A.S. budget is the result of a (fee) referendum from 2002,” said A.S. General Manager David Crandall.
According to Crandall, students voted in 2002 to increase the A.S. fee by $2 each year for a set period of time.
Beginning in Fall 2005, students will pay $70 in A.S. fees. The A.S. Senate will likely vote in Fall 2006 to decide whether to continue raising the fee from what will, at that time, be $72.
Crandall said one thing that resulted from the referendum is a dramatic increase in funding for clubs and organizations.
Clubs and organizations ask for budget allocations in November of each year and are judged on a set of 12 criteria. A series of budget hearings led by the A.S. Finance Committee results in finalized recommendations, which are made to the A.S. Senate, which eventually votes on the recommendations.
“We’d like to enhance not only the process (and) the procedures, but also the way we actually do things,” Charton said.
Charton said A.S. changed the way allocations are identified in this year’s budget language. Instead of allocating money into specified budget categories, funds are now allocated for specific programs.
In 2004-05, a student club or organization was allocated funds in areas like “professionally contracted services,” and the individual club or organization was responsible for determining which budget category funds would be drawn from.
In the 2005-06 budget, however, specific events like the American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s Young Engineers Day are allocated money.
According to A.S. Finance Director Bryanne Knight, a minimum of $900 is given to new clubs, which is a $200 increase from last year’s minimum allocation.
“The Finance Committee as a whole decides how much money each club and organization gets,” Knight said. “It all depends on what is available.”
Additionally, Knight said the Finance Committee looks at how much money individual clubs or organizations received in the 2004-05 budget and analyzes how successful those programs were to help determine how much should be allocated for 2005-06.
This year, clubs and organizations received approximately $300,000 in funding, and university programs such as the CSUN Helpline and University Ambassadors received $1.7 million.
Student clubs and organizations that received a high amount of funding include the Black Student Union, which received $7,200, the Armenian Student Association, which received $5,200, and Hillel, which received $5,000.
“We have developed a longstanding philosophy of rewarding ‘utilizers’ of the budget,” Charton said. “We make decisions based upon what we feel is reasonable and appropriate. We focus a great deal on history.”
The annual A.S. budget is divided into five categories. Three budget categories are operated within control of A.S. itself: A.S. Government, A.S. Programs and Services, and A.S. Support. Two budget categories, University Programs and Clubs and Organizations, operate outside of A.S.
Charton said many students are not aware of the funding that there is available to them in addition to the annual budget allocation.
He said A.S. provides supplemental funding through a separate application process on a weekly basis throughout the fall and spring semesters.
Charton said that groups are more than welcome, and are strongly encouraged to request funding in excess of their annual budget allocations. Charton said individual student funding is also available for conference travel or projects.
“We want to be more proactive in marketing our financial services and (spreading the word) that student funding is available,” Charton said.