Allocating fees is a long process

Hayley Odom

Fiscal responsibility is not only for University administrators and business majors. Counting dollars and cents is the forte of the student committee charged with allocating $20 million in student fees every year.

Once members of the Student Services Fees Committee decide to cut a check for a particular group, the cash must first clear a few safeguards before the group can use it.

The protective measures continue; when requesting funds for the upcoming year, administrative and student groups must defend how they spent this year’s money and submit to an audit.

“If there are any identified concerns, the Student Services Fees Committee has to determine whether or not it will impact (the group’s) recommendation,” said June Nobbe, student development and leadership programs director.

While misusing funds does not automatically deny a group funding the following year, concerns about internal financial accountability have influenced committee recommendations for some groups in the past, Nobbe said.

Auditing process

During the fees process, fees-requesting groups must account for their financial activities.

Several years ago, the fees committee contracted with the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte & Touche to audit student groups. Student fees also fund the audits, Nobbe said.

While the auditors do not test internal controls or issue an official opinion, they examine issues of matching income to expenses and make recommendations to the fees committee about record keeping and other procedures.

Student groups must produce records, receipts and other accounting information required for the audit to justify their expenditures, Nobbe said.

Administrative units participate in the University’s audit structure, which is separate from the Deloitte & Touche audit.

Tracking the buck

Based on the fees committee’s decisions, the University distributes money to groups on specified dates during the fall, spring and summer terms.

Once students pay tuition and fees each semester, part of that amount is cut into checks, which then goes to student groups.

As a safeguard, the University cuts the checks for 98 percent of the groups’ actual allocation, said Lincoln Kallsen, budget director of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

Because a decrease in enrollment could lower a group’s allocation – funding is determined by a per-student rate – the University holds the other 2 percent to ensure the groups do not overdraw their accounts, Kallsen said.