Campus groups make requests for student service fees

Student groups sent in applications and await their initial recommendations for 2018-2019 academic year operations funding.

by Kayla Song

Last week, administrative groups at the University of Minnesota made their funding requests for the next fiscal year, and the University’s 94 student groups also made their requests for operations funding for the next academic year.

This is the first step for student groups to receive funding for the 2018-2019 academic year, and the groups will receive their initial funding recommendations at the beginning of March. The administrative groups will hear initial recommendations around the same time. 

A total of $1.4 million in student activity fees is available for 94 student groups to fund operations and programs for fall 2018 semester at the University of Minnesota. Initial recommendations for funding are made in March, and the groups will receive their funds upon approval from the Board of Regents in June, according to Sara Carvell, associate director of the Office for Student Affairs.

Continuing a re-structured application process, funding included requests for a mental health expansion at Boynton Health, a continuation of the men’s engagement coordinator at the Aurora Center and money for a NASA Robotic Mining Competition.

GOFIRST Robotics received the most total funding over the academic year, about $48,000, while the least amount of money, $200, went to the Coptic Orthodox Christian Association.

GOFIRST Robotics requested and received about $6,000 more than they received in the fall. This was justified by the fact that the robotics team will be competing in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition and requires funds for resources to build their robot, said Ryan Zoeller, Treasurer of GOFIRST Robotics.

Six administrative groups also requested funding for the fiscal year, including Boynton Health, Student Unions and Activities, the Aurora Center, University Recreation and Wellness, Student Legal Services and the Student Conflict Resolution Center.

Using a different process, Boynton requested $9.2 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year, which included a $248,400 increase for mental health expansion costs.

The Aurora Center requested about $371,000, which included about $56,000 to fund a men’s engagement coordinator. 

The requests for the administrative groups are still being processed and initial recommendations will be given by mid-March.

Five media groups — StudioU, the Minnesota Daily, Students for a Conservative Voice, The Wake Magazine and Radio K — also requested funding at the beginning of February. Media groups request funding annually, rather than each semester.

The current application process for student group programming funding was implemented in January 2017 and was first used to allocate money for fall semester and this semester. 

It requires student groups to apply for programming funding for each semester, while requests for operations funding cover the full academic year. The process also caps how much can be requested, limiting student groups to requesting up to $30,000 per academic year for programs and up to $25,000 for operations.

“Before a year ago, there weren’t any limits, and so groups could request a lot more,” Carvell said. “What a group received last academic year may look very different from what they received this academic year.”

Carvell said the process is “viewpoint neutral,” and the content of a group’s programming or message is not taken into consideration when the committee makes funding decisions.

“Each group starts from zero, and it’s just based off of how much they request, how well they justify each of those requests, also how much total money the committee has to allocate,” said Jude Goossens, chair of the Student Groups Student Services Fee Committee.

Correction: A previous version of this article had multiple factual errors that misstated parts of the Student Service Fees process. Additionally, the article misstated what year Boynton Health was requesting money for. It requested money for the 2018-19 fiscal year.