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NISG contingency find running dry

LEZIGA BARIKOR, Staff Writer

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Low funding has been an issue discussed in nearly every NISG meeting so far this year. The NISG contingency fund is not substantial enough to meet the funding request for the full academic year, according to director of administration and finance, Abbie Shew.

Shew has been working closely with Aaron Friel, Senator and the Chair of the Budget Committee, to try and alleviate the funding deficiency before it impacts student organizations, as discussed in the eighth regular meeting.

NISG’s budgetary process occurs each February to determine the amount of money that will be allocated to student organization for events in the coming school year, according to Shew.  Shew explained that the NISG Contingency fund is a “discretionary fund that is given out on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis,” and it can be accessed throughout the school year.

According to the UNI website, NISG receives all its funding from the Student Service Fee Committee. Friel said that NISG receives approximately $18.90 per student every year, meaning that their budget is in flux with the number of students enrolled at UNI.

Friel went on to say they received approximately $188,000 from last year’s Student Service Fee to work with this academic year. On average, NISG gives $10,000-$15,000 of its funds a month to student organizations in one academic semester, and Friel said this puts NISG in the position of potentially being completely out of funds by December or January.

Shew said the problem NISG is facing is caused by a higher volume of funding requests from student organizations this year than in years past.

“We have been getting approximately the same amount of money, around $180,000, for about five years,” Shew said. “Which is fine, but we have had a lot of increased expenses in those times, [for example] the college readership program.”

According to Shew, the Student Service Fee Committee retains its own contingency fund, which they keep at around $100,000 every year for funding emergencies. Shew and Friel presented to the Student Service Fee Committee to ask for a portion of their contingency fund, which sits at around $130,000, according to Friel, on the basis of NISG’s expectation to be out of funds by the end of the academic semester.

“In order for us to get money from that Student Fee Committee contingency fund, we have to justify that our situation is an emergency and also that our situation was not preventable,” Shew said.

Shew went on to say the NISG funds for the current year are decided two years in advance by the Student Service Fee Committee.

“The previous director of administration and finance requested $300,000 from the Student Fee Committee for next year and increases for each of the following years after that which is exactly where we need to be,” Shew said.

According to Friel, the increase would also mean that less than 30 percent of all student government spending would be fixed costs, so more money could go to student organizations.

Until then, both Shew and Friel anticipate the low funding to negatively impact student organization life. Shew encourages any student organization that needs a substantially large amount of funding to come in during the fall semester, because once the NISG funds run out, they will be forced to start denying requests.

Once NISG’s contingency fund runs out, Shew wants to continue to work with student organizations and help them figure out other funding options, including applying for the Pepsi Fund and PawPrint Fund.

Despite presenting to the Student Service Fee Committee multiple times with Friel, Shew confirmed that their funding request was denied.

According to student body President and Student Service Fee Committee Chair, Katie Evans, the committee did not see the NISG Contingency fund situation as an emergency or unpreventable because they could have chosen to allocate less money to all student organizations overall.

“We are going to go back next semester and ask again,” Shew said.

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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa
NISG contingency find running dry