Due to a decrease in the predicted number of students studying abroad this spring, College Council (CC) has received approximately $8500 more than budgeted from the student activities tax, an amount that has been placed into the co-sponsorship fund.
According to CC co-president Peter Nurnberg ’09, CC receives the money raised from the student activities tax each year. Every student who lives on campus pays $95 towards this tax every semester as part of his or her tuition. That revenue is CC’s funding source and is used for campus-based student activities, groups and events.
When crafting the annual budget, CC must forecast the number of students who will be living on campus each semester, a figure that largely depends on how many students study abroad. “We do not know exactly how much money we will get for each semester until after the semester begins, and the College knows exactly how many people will be abroad for the term,” Nurnberg said. As a result, while an exact number can be used in the fall when budget decisions are made, spring semester numbers can only be predicted.
Historically, students have tended to prefer to leave campus in the spring. “Based on information and study abroad patterns we have from previous years, we create our budget under the assumption that more people will be abroad in the spring than in the fall,” Nurnberg said. Because of this trend, the Controller’s office advised CC to anticipate 95 percent of the fall revenue for the spring. However, instead of a smaller spring revenue, this year the revenues for each semester were each roughly $187,000.
Nurnberg attributed this phenomenon to either more students traveling abroad in the fall or fewer students leaving for the spring. CC Treasurer Rachel Levy ’09 speculated that this variation could be due to the economic recession.
According to Levy, the current CC has been “pretty conservative in the use of student funds over the past year or so.” This fiscal restraint combined with the increase in tax revenue has given CC “a significant amount of money that we didn’t expect to have.”
There is no formal procedure to redirect unanticipated revenue once the budget has been made. As a result, the money was put in the co-sponsorship fund, which Nurnberg described as the most flexible account in the budget. Co-sponsorship money can be used to fund any campus group, activity or event, even those that have not gone through the official registration process.
Including the recently deposited money, the co-sponsorship fund currently contains $36,700, which will soon be put under the discretion of the incoming 2009 CC.
“We wanted to make sure that the money benefited students living on campus, because those are the students who pay it. The co-sponsorship fund seemed to be the best way to target those people,” Nurnberg said.