New MSA budget

The Minnesota Student Association should ensure an airtight budget.

by Editorial board

At its meeting Tuesday, the Minnesota Student Association approved a 2012-13 budget that aims to use students’ money more effectively. As the undergraduate student government, MSA will receive more than $159,663 in student fees for fiscal year 2012-13. MSA receives more student fees than any other student group aside from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.

They’ve decided to cut operational expenses like stipends and promotional material by 16 percent. Instead, they’re focusing more of their dollars on programming like grants for student groups who don’t receive fees money and town hall meetings with students.

While programming costs have increased by 14 percent, these are the areas where MSA should be spending its money because it is more likely that students will see their fees dollars at work.

Now that MSA has laid a foundation for the year, its leaders should make sure that their programming reflects the needs of students and is effectively promoted so that money doesn’t go to waste or carryover to the next financial year.

Carryover funds aren’t good because it means groups aren’t spending students’ money the way they told the Student Services Fees Committee they would. Allocated money that isn’t used and is instead carried over could have gone to another student group in need of funds within that financial year.

Over the past two years, MSA has improved how it uses its money. The 2011-12 budget included $30,000 in unused funds from the previous year. This year’s budget only includes $4,000 in carryover from FY11-12. This trend should continue but only if MSA is allocating its funds to necessary programs. If carryover is a problem at the end of FY12-13, MSA should reconsider how much money it requests from students.