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Expected USAC surplus higher than last year


Ariana Rodriguez / Daily Bruin

The undergraduate student government expects to see more than $300,000 from last year’s council carry over into its budget as surplus funds for the 2012-13 school year.

Roy Champawat, director of the UCLA Student Union who deals with USAC finances told councilmembers at their meeting last week that the surplus is expected to be about $386,000 ­”“ about $110,000 more than last year and the fourth-largest surplus in the past 10 years.

In the past, surplus funds have been used to fund programs and events like Bruin Bash, textbook scholarships, Night Powell and Homecoming.

“(This year’s surplus) is considered a good healthy amount,” he said.

Earlier in the quarter, Champawat projected the surplus to be about $500,000. Champawat said he knew the surplus would be higher than last year, but the $500,000 was just a projection based on data from previous years.

“We could aim for an amount a bit lower in the coming years,” he said.

A low surplus should not be a point of concern and instead is a reflection of appropriate money management, he added.

Surpluses have remained unstable over the past several years.

Past councils have made decisions on how to fund programs based on the expected surpluses, which led to problems, said Cynthia Jasso, USAC Finance Committee chair.

Last fall, the council allocated student programming funds early with expectations of the usual high surplus to supplement the funds later in the quarter. They were surprised when a lower-than-expected surplus left the council short of student programming funds. This led the council to request additional funding from the Associated Students UCLA Board of Directors.

“Surplus was not meant to be relied on as a constant funding source,” Jasso said.

In January, the council amended its bylaws to safeguard against similar problems in the future.

As a result of the changes, USAC will not distribute more than 33 percent of its contingency programming funds during the fall until a finalized surplus is known for the year.

“With the 33 percent ensured, we have not had any problems so far, but still need to find more ways not to be reliant upon (the) surplus,” said David Bocarsly, USAC president.

Within the next few weeks, current USAC officers will determine how to spend this year’s surplus.

At last week’s meeting, Bocarsly told councilmembers they have until week nine of this quarter to propose ways to spend the surplus money before it is allocated to yearly funds.

Most councilmembers said they do not plan to request any money from surplus funds, though some said they might brainstorm ideas in the coming weeks.

If USAC chooses not to spend any of the surplus, the money will be distributed among three funds for which student groups can apply, as stipulated by USAC bylaws. The $386,000 would then be allocated to three separate funds: 45 percent to the Undergraduate Students Association programming fund, 43 percent to the contingency programming fund and the remaining 12 percent to the capital contingency fund, a source of funding for supplies like furniture and computers for offices in Kerckhoff Hall.

The Undergraduate Students Association programming fund allocates money quarterly to all campus events and the contingency programming fund allocates money weekly to student programming,

The finalized surplus amount will not be confirmed until early January, but Champawat said he does not expect the number to change significantly.

Email Rodriguez at [email protected]

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