Money, money, money: SGA’s budget explained
By Jacob Abrahamson–
SGA is in charge of $1.2 million annually to spend on student-driven initiatives, and has approved a budget for the 2014-2015 school year to control the money’s use.
The budget was developed by the SGA President and Executive Vice President and submitted, along with SAB and ELSB budgets, to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The $1.2 million figure comes from two separate funds: a student fee and the President’s office.
Since May 1978, a $12 Student Activities fee has been added to the tuition of U of L students every semester. The fee brings in approximately $600,000 for the SGA budget.
Another $600,000 has come from the President’s Office over the past three years to support the SAB, ELSB, Club Programming and student travel funds. Statewide budget cuts are currently not expected to impact SGA funds that come from the university.
“They have their own internal process [in creating the budget],” said Michael Mardis, Dean of Student Affairs. “The university is not deciding how those funds are used.”
The Student Affairs Budget Office does, however, assist in the management of SGA funds.
The SGA President has the main discretion over the Central Administration budget, which totals at $133,500.
According to outgoing SGA President Carrie Mattingly, “The Executive Top Four and Executive Staff access the fund for their various events and initiatives.”
Student requests for funds, done through Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs), are also handled by the President and Executive Top Four.
School council budgets are managed slightly differently. Many council budgets, together amounting to $145,200, are not specifically itemized and are subject to change depending on the needs of the councils.
“They have the independence to do whatever they want,” said outgoing Appropriations Chair and Business School President Albin George.
He also mentioned that individual Dean’s offices hold council funds and require another step of approval for councils to get requested money during the year.
George suggested that students and groups with interest in funding talk to the SGA.
“They can go to their councils and request funding,” he said, speaking about travel and events funds.
Other major recipients of funding are the SAB, which has around $436,000, and the ELSB with $83,500.
Besides funding these things, around $200,000 of the SGA’s $1.2 million budget goes towards tuition remission and stipends to those involved in SGA based on the amount of work they do.
According to Mardis, students spend “an incredible amount of time” on SGA that makes them unable to do other work. He also mentioned that this funding agreed upon by those involved in SGA.
The SGA is interested in informing students about how their money is being spent and in getting their opinion.
“Throughout my administration, SGA has worked toward transparency with regard to every element of our large budget,” said Mattingly, telling students to contact SGA at UofLSGA.org with any questions they may have.
Full disclosure: Albin George was a member of the board of the Louisville Cardinal from Fall 2013 to Spring 2014.