Members of the undergraduate student government predict having a large amount of funds remaining from last year, but said they will work to decrease their future reliance on the funds.
This year’s potential surplus of $500,000 ““ which results from any money not spent the previous school year ““ is nearly double last year’s, said Roy Champawat, director of the UCLA Student Union.
And that is not ideal, he added.
A surplus of this amount is more than the council needs and instead should be closer to what it was last year, Champawat said.
The Undergraduate Students Association Council accounting system naturally causes a surplus to carry over from year to year, Champawat said, but the large amount means that recent graduates’ contributions will not benefit them.
Last year, USAC faced a setback when its surplus funds, leftover money from the previous council’s budget, were less than what members had originally planned for, Champawat said.
By the time the council found out about the lower surplus last November when the preliminary numbers were released, several funds dedicated to supporting student group programming were substantially depleted, said Sahil Seth, USAC financial supports commissioner.
The dwindling programming funds caused some student groups, including the Afrikan Student Union, to pay out of pocket for their events, the Daily Bruin reported in January.
In January, last year’s council changed the Finance Committee Guidelines to stipulate that only 33 percent of the student group programming budget can be used until the final amount of leftover funds from the previous year is finalized ““ in order to counter last year’s problem, said Cynthia Jasso, USAC Finance Committee chair.
The large surplus can be attributed to last year’s council, because not enough funds were given out for various programs then, said USAC President David Bocarsly. USAC typically provides funding for student group activities.
While the exact amount of the surplus funds are not usually known until late November following an annual audit, it is common for USAC to allocate a portion of projected surplus to some programs prior to knowing the exact amount, Champawat said.
A funding study group will meet during the quarter to discuss how to use the surplus more efficiently, Bocarsly said.
So far this year, the council has only used the leftover funds, about $78,000, to pay for the upcoming Bruin Bash.
This number is much less than in the past because corporate sponsorships will pay for about $40,000 of the expenses this year, said Jan Tancinco, campus events commissioner. The chancellor’s office contributes about $35,000 toward Bruin Bash, Tancinco said.
Other programs have relied on the surplus in the past and will look for other means to support it. One of them is the textbook scholarship, quarterly drawings that award students scholarship money to purchase textbooks, Seth said.
Seth hopes the textbook scholarship, which will spend funds not used for the scholarship from last year, will be funded by donations, he said.
Still, USAC members are being cautious.
While USAC expects to generate a substantial surplus this year, in the future the amount may not be as high, Bocarsly said.
“We’ve made it clear that in the future we might not have a (large) surplus,” Bocarsly said. “(The surplus’ future has) started a lot of conversations.”