Wednesday, December 19

UCLA accounting mistake leaves large sum unallocated to USAC


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This post was updated Jan. 25 at 9:08 a.m.

A university accounting error prevented the undergraduate student government from receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars for the past three years.

UCLA accounting services neglected to allocate $461,662 in funding from three years of Bruin Bash and Arts Restoring Community fees to Undergraduate Students Association Council. USAC can now use $149,770 of the surplus, which is the amount that should have been allocated to student group funds in previous years.

Following lobbying by undocumented student groups, the council unanimously voted Tuesday to allocate $100,000 of the surplus funds to the UCLA Undocumented Student Program, which provides resources for undocumented students on campus. The council also allocated $16,000 to cover the remainder of the Cultural Affairs Commission’s Bruin Bash outstanding balance.

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USP said in a statement it is still determining how to use the funds but plans to improve existing resources and services the office currently provides to students. The program added it is gathering student feedback to decide how to allocate the money to meet students’ urgent needs.

Students voted on Bruin Bash and ARC fees during the USAC elections, which are part of the referenda fees that students pay each quarter, said Roy Champawat, director of Associated Students UCLA.

The Bruin Bash fee, which costs students $1.40 per quarter and was passed in 2013, funds the annual Bruin Bash Concert and Enormous Activities Fair. The ARC fees, which passed in 2014 and increased student fees by $1.62 per quarter , funds student groups’ cultural and art-related events.

The council allocates money from its surplus to initiatives it decides are important. It can allocate a maximum $150,000 from its surplus to the USAC Programming Fund, Capital Items Fund and Contingency Programming Fund, which student groups apply to receive money, said USAC Finance Committee Chair Pratik Malshe.

“(For example), if the total surplus is $200,000, then the maximum that can be allocated to all three funds is $150,000,” he said.

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The remaining funds are then invested into the council’s endowment, which is managed by the UCLA Foundation, Champawat said. He added the endowment, which was created in 2013, helps secure funding for student programming and earnings from the endowment that go to the undergraduate student association, board of directors programming fund and contingency fund.

“Earnings (from the endowment) are able to be spent on programming for student groups,” he said.

UCLA said in statement that the funding mistake was a result of human error. The university added UCLA Business and Finance Services, which provides financial services to UCLA, and the Undergraduate Student Association’s Student Government Accounting Office, recognized the error in early 2017. New funding for these fees are processed each quarter since March.

Due to the error, the council did not have enough to fully allocate its programming fund in the 2015-2016 school year, Champawat said.

“But with this understanding of the money, they wouldn’t have been low,” he said. “They would have fully funded those programs and they would’ve had ($73,290) left.”

The council is holding a town hall Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kerckhoff Grand Salon to gather feedback from students and determine what to do with the remaining surplus funds.

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Kim is the assistant news editor for the campus politics beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat.


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