Sunday, May 27

Editorial: _USAC should milk its surplus funds_

The proposal to allocate some of the undergraduate student government’s surplus money into an endowment would address the issue of instability in funding but does not resolve the main problem at hand.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council’s surplus ““ remaining funds from the previous council that are carried over ““ is an estimated $308,000 this year, the fourth highest in the last 10 years.

The amount of surplus money fluctuates from year to year.

Having surpluses that are large can be volatile and is an indication that money allocated by the student government, a large part of which is distributed to student groups, is not being used efficiently. If student groups were effectively spending the money allocated to them, the surplus should be close to zero.

USAC President David Bocarsly proposed Tuesday to use $100,000 of this year’s surplus money to create an endowment with the UCLA Foundation.

In other words, that is $100,000 this year that USAC would put aside and not spend.

The student government could then choose to add to the endowment each year based on the amount of its surplus.

The money in this endowment would earn a yearly return of 5 percent, generating more money in the long run.

But the fact that USAC is even in this position, with more surplus than it can allocate, is evidence that the current method by which it is distributing funds is inefficient in the first place.

Some student groups do not spend all the money allocated to them, which adds to the surplus.

USAC should strive to prevent the surplus from ballooning by more closely examining which groups are effectively using their money and doling out funding accordingly.

Student groups, in turn, should make efforts to properly spend the money they receive.

Failing that, the student government should look into decreasing the fee each student pays that goes into the USAC fund, which is currently $122.47 per quarter.

Bocarsly’s endowment proposal is commendable for being considerate of a long-term solution to the council’s reliance on surplus money.

But it seems strange that a council with such a large surplus fund should be focusing on ways to generate more money.

We urge USAC and student groups to look beyond the proposal to create an endowment, and for both to work to reduce the surplus.

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