Organizations across campus have felt the effects of a campus-wide budget cut from the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee (SAFAC) funds for fiscal year 2015.
According to Vice President of Finance and Business Glen Pinkston, SAFAC had $14,000 dollars less to disperse this year as compared to last year.
The SAFAC committee, which was comprised of 13 members and one attendee, met four times during the spring semester to discuss and allocate SAFAC funds based on proposals submitted by organizations on March 7.
Pinkston said SAFAC funds come from student activity fees. Upon enrollment, students pay $10 per credit hour. SAFAC predetermines funds based on projected enrollment.
For the FY15, SAFAC received an estimate of 117, 600 budgeted credit hours before their first meeting on March 25. Pinkston stated that real numbers don’t come into play until almost the end of the spring semester.
“They [SAFAC committee] work with that estimate,” he said. “We don’t really make a decision for the final hours we are going to use until April or May. Sometimes it is after school, so their work is done by then.
“This year’s recommendation came by Vice President Holland to the President on April 23. So even after April 23 when the committee has met, deliberated, made the recommendations, the number of hours budgeted could still go up or down.”
Pinkston said the SAFAC committee has difficulty allocating funds for a few reasons. Along with the number of credit hours shifting, the committee must also take into consideration all the proposals that are submitted. In this year’s case, Pinkston said there were two new proposals. According to a SAFAC Budget Allocation table provided by Pinkston, new proposals came from the Department of Agriculture and the School of Business. When SAFAC receives new funding proposals the next step is to find what Pinkston calls “new money.”
“New money: that’s one of the things the committee has to deal with,” Pinkston said. “There’s less money, so you’re going to have to take money away from somebody to fund new proposals.”
Another issue that Pinkston brought to light was the amount of money allocated to the athletics department.
“The university model for funding athletic scholarships and some of their operating expenses have always been to use SAFAC fees,” Pinkston said. “Some schools do that, other schools have a student athletic fee.
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“In FY12, we capped the amount of SAFAC money that we would take for athletics. It hasn’t gone up since. Actually, in  it went down a little bit. Since  any increases in tuition and fees or operating expenses, the university is starting to fund. If you read the minutes, they really struggle with funding athletics.”
Committee members, according to Pinkston, made it clear that scholarships take no priority over other funding requests. Pinkston explained that what determines the amount awarded to organizations is how many people benefit from their funding.
“This year it was very clear in reading the minutes that the committee did not really want to fund a lot of scholarships. They basically thought that departments ought to seek alternative funding sources for scholarships. They were particularly rigorous in looking at scholarships when they knew the organization requesting it might have the ability to either raise money or find an alternative source,” Pinkston said. “How many people are benefited by giving music scholarships? You could look at it that some number of students benefit, but you could also look at it that those scholarships go to students who in turn perform. How many people are benefited by the performance?”
For a full set of minutes during the SAFAC committee meetings, visit http://www.cameron.edu/student_services/archives/2013-2014.
For more on SAFAC, please see “Equality in student funds”, or Click here.
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