UMN student government say they’re running out of grant money

MSA and PSG have both given out most of their grant money for the academic year.

Student government at the University of Minnesota say they're experiencing grant deficits.

PSG

Student government at the University of Minnesota say they’re experiencing grant deficits.

Natalie Rademacher

Student governments at the University of Minnesota have struggled with saving grant money for this academic year.

By March, the Minnesota Student Association and the Professional Student Government spent most of the funds for their grants, which are awarded to students for individual and community projects.

While PSG is nearly out of grant money, MSA passed a resolution Tuesday to reallocate funds to support more grants.

MSA’s spring event grants and mission-driven grants budgets had 51 cents and $5,130 remaining out $12,500 and $10,000 allotments, respectively.

The three MSA grant categories cover MSA’s semester events, student group allocations and mission-driven initiatives such as mental health and campus climate.

MSA started out the school year with $60,000 in its grant budget, which is the same amount it had for the 2015-2016 academic year.

MSA did not provide data for years prior to 2015-16 or the number of grants it has given out in recent years.

Viswa Challa, the head of the MSA Grants Committee, said the previous two years’ grant budgets were lower than in years past. He said this is because MSA reallocated funds to other areas within the student government.

The mission-driven grants, which now have the most funding, are awarded to projects that “align with MSA’s mission,” like the Nutritious U Pantry.

The pilot food pantry was funded completely by a $2,500 grant, which is the highest possible amount awarded with that grant, said founder Rebecca Leighton.

Professional Student Government grant funding

During the 2015-2016 academic year, PSG had $105,000 to award. This year, the budget was $77,000, which was due to a decrease in student service fees funding, said. Kathleen Craig, who works as the office manager for PSG.

“It was a pretty sizeable cut,” she said.

PSG has awarded 241 grants this school year, a drop from the 283 it awarded last year, which was the first year after the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly split into PSG and the Council of Graduate Students.

Before that, PSG — then GAPSA — awarded 342 grants in 2014-15 and 433 grants the previous year.

Craig said that before the split, these grants were available to all GAPSA students and now are only available to paying members of PSG.

Brynna Nelson, head of the PSG grants committee, said grant requests have increased this year.

PSG didn’t have data available on the number of grant applications it has received for the last four years.

“Personally, I think that the biggest factor in PSG running out of grant money is that our requests have increased compared to last year.”

This year, PSG has distributed $76,857 in grants from their $77,000 budget.

However, the other main student government body, COGS, still has $37,372 remaining from its original budget of $87,500, according to data provided by COGS.

The amount COGS has distributed in grants has steadily increased over the last four years.

COGS has seen more applicants at this point of the academic year than in previous years, said Jeanna Wieselmann, the director of grants for COGS.

COGS has received 281 grant applications so far and has awarded 67.

In 2015-16, COGS awarded grants to 85 of the 356 applications.

Viswa Challa is a former Minnesota Daily employee.