Student Government Association budget finalized

Kaely Holloway

Despite not receiving a planned budget increase, the Student Government Association recently finalized their budget for the 2013-14 school year.

This year, SGA has a budget of $125,000 to be spent and allotted as seen fit by the organization, with the money coming from student tuition. Laura Harper, director of public relations, said this amount equates to $6.25 per student.

Administrative Vice President Nicki Seay is in charge of forming the budget and allotting certain amounts to the branches, programs, supplies and discretionary areas.


“Discretionary is basically anything extra we do that isn’t set in our budget,” she said. “The senate discretionary has to be approved by a majority of the senate to be spent, and the executive discretionary has to be approved by a majority of the executive committee to be spent.”

All money listed in the budget is accurate except for the executive discretionary fund, which is a ballpark estimate. The fund has a $5,900 budget, with an estimated $1,068.38 spent.

SGA President Keyana Boka and Executive Vice President Mark Reeves recently took a trip to Washington, D.C., lobbying for higher education with other SGA leaders from across the commonwealth.

“Our expenses haven’t come through on what all was about that trip, but I do have a roundabout estimate of what that is,” Seay said.

The amount spent from the executive discretionary fund is a slight overestimate, but it is one Seay, Boka and Reeves agreed on before the latter two took their trip to DC.

“An overestimate is better than underestimate in my opinion,” she said.

SGA’s organizational aid committee has been allotted $30,000 this fiscal year. On-campus organizations can apply to receive money from the committee for events, conferences and other activities requiring funding.

“We can grant them up to $500 for those expenses,” Seay said.

Applications are available on SGA’s website, on the student activities’ website and available in hard copy in the SGA office. Applications will be reviewed by the committee, potential candidates will be interviewed and the money will be given as seen fit by the committee members.

“Anything but food we will do, and we can do food if it is in conjunction with a trip, sort of on a reimbursement basis,” she said. “Travel is reimbursement only.”

Sarah Hazelip, SGA’s director of information technology, said during the Tuesday meeting that she is working on making a copy of the budget available online.

Seay also said that SGA is set to get an increase in funding every few years. Their next increase was projected to be for the current school year. However, budget cuts resulting in a lower than expected tuition increase led to the SGA budget increase being cut.

“We’re not facing any less money than last year, but we just didn’t get a scheduled increase,” she said. “We knew well before the last fiscal year ended, so we were able to budget a lot off of last year.”

Last semester, SGA experienced a surplus of money leftover in the budget. This money was quickly re-allotted toward other needs as seen fit by last year’s SGA, funding ventures for the next year, such as promotional materials and Preston Center guest vouchers, and allotting more money for summer scholarships.

“A huge chunk of it last year went in to summer scholarships because the summer scholarship program was just started last year and we only budgeted enough for about three scholarships, maybe,” Seay said.

The scholarships were designed to assist in payment of on-campus summer courses. A recipient of the scholarship received financial help from SGA to cover the cost of one summer course.

“Last year, most of our extra money went to that scholarship because we had over 300 people apply,” she said.

In moving forward with the budget, Seay said she is trying to be as financially responsible as possible with the money, minimizing budgets in areas that last year had much leftover.

Money for transcript vouchers is one of the areas undergoing this minimizing change. Last year, much of the money allotted for the purchase of these vouchers went unused, an issue Seay does not wish to repeat.

“We’re only starting out with $300. Last year I think it started out at 5 or 6 (hundred dollars), but all of that wasn’t used,” she said.

A pay-as-you-go policy has been initiated for the program, taking more money from the legislative discretionary or senate discretionary as needed.

“(It’s) just to kind of make sure we are being good stewards of our money,” she said.