Where is student money going?

The student and activities budget for the next fiscal year produced by the student and faculty committee was approved on April 22 in an emergency board of directors meeting by the Associated Student Government. Budget request forms had been accepted from Feb. 4 to March 21; final budget recommendations were submitted to the ASG, and final approval lies with the board of trustees.
The S&A fund for next year is approximately 9.3 percent larger than last year’s at $2,157,750, and certain funds within the S&A have grown as well. ASG will see an increase in funding that will serve to maintain its purchasing power as wages increase across campus. Chris Stoynov stated that ASG got “about 5 percent more than they had last time. They got less than they requested, but that’s typical. Pretty much everybody requests more than is reasonable to expect … When they made their request, they were calculating their expenses at one dollar higher pay per hour, 13 as opposed to 12 dollars, and they received enough funds to cover that.”
Brandon Lueken expressed disappointment in regards to the gains his programs will see next year, as many of the student workers are having difficulty paying for school: “Something that the ASG has really run into this year is that a lot of the students who happen to be in ASG are having issues paying for college … but they have to be in classes in order to be in ASG, so it might be that they’re really delayed in getting into their classes. They might not get into the classes that they want, which means their time at Bellevue College is extended or delayed and so they wait to get into these classes until they know that they can pay for them. … What this means practically is that ASG doesn’t know their schedule. They’re not able to give their schedule to the front desk. That means the front desk isn’t able to schedule tours, which means that the ASG gets yelled at because they’re not doing tours, because they don’t know their schedules because they can’t afford it.” While next year’s pay increase for ASG representatives from $12 to $13 an hour will help to offset this, if tuition costs rise again the effect may be negated. Under Faisal Jaswal, Student Programs has shifted its funding model in the last decade. While many schools and businesses in general set their budget based on projected income, Bellevue College’s S&A fee operates on actuals, meaning that all the money which is allocated during the budgeting process has already been acquired by the college. The S&A fee is factored into tuition costs. Approximately 10 percent of tuition can be attributed to the fee, and according to Faisal Jaswal, all of the $2,157,750 will go “into student salaries and student-ran programs. All of this benefits students directly.”
According to Lueken, the college tends to “invest a lot in conferences.” He explained the habit as “making an investment in the leaders beyond Bellevue College. By sending people to these conferences, you’re really investing a large part in their career and their ability to network and meet with people outside of Bellevue College and really outside of the scope in which they’ll serve at Bellevue College.” When asked if the S&A budget next year will continue to be utilized in such a manner, ASG’s chief justice and member of the S&A committee Komalpreet Sahota said “It really depends not so much on the money allocated but more so on the student government, the programs and the leadership next year.”
Stoynov gave a disclaimer, saying that “at this point we know the numbers with almost 100 percent accuracy, but there is a little bit of uncertainty, because at this point in time there’s still refunds; students can still drop classes.” While this may change the final numbers by several thousand, at this time Student Programs has finished its work on the matter. Jaswal praised the committee, saying they “had a beautiful attitude, and did a wonderful job. It was my pleasure to work with the students and the staff and faculty on the committee. They were amazing. We made really good investments.” The budget will be seen by the Board of Trustees in May and voted on later in June.Front page photo lightened

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