Student Organizations and Activities Financial Policies and Purchasing Procedures

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University Policy Number 6

Categorized:

Responsible Office:

Policy Procedure:

  • See below

Related Law & Policy:

  • Policy 2102: Food and Beverage Expenditures


I. Scope

Policy and procedures contained herein apply only to the financial aspects and purchasing procedures of student organizations and activities that derive their basic financial support from student fees or self-generated revenue:

A. Student Organizations (consisting of nine categories): the Student Governance Umbrella (Student Senate, Executive Board, Federation for Off Campus Students, Student Court); Program Board (and member organizations); Student Bar Association (and law student organizations); Media Board/student publications (Phoebe literary magazine, Broadside newspaper, WGMU Radio, Hispanic Culture Review; So To Speak Feminist Journal, the Freshman Review, the Fractal and the Energia); Academic Umbrella (and member organizations); Graduate Student Council (and member organizations); International Student Association (and member organizations); Special Interest Group Network (and member organizations); and Volunteer Umbrella (and member organizations).

B. Departmental Student Activities: Debate Team, Forensics Team, Choral Groups, Dance Company, Symphony Orchestra, University Bands, University Players, Poetry Theatre and Student Video Center.

C. Student Activities and Centers: Honor Committee, Judicial Board, staff-directed centers and programs, and other similar student-fee-supported student activities that may be established.

II. Policy Statement

The individual student organizations and activities will adhere to the financial procedures and purchasing policies described herein and will exercise prudent judgement in expending the funds as approved within the framework of the current charter, by-laws, and other established rules and administrative policies of George Mason University.

One student may not hold the position of treasurer or exercise authority to disburse funds for more than one student organization at the same time.

III. Responsibilities

A. The Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Planning, through the operations of the chief accountant, will direct that financial records of revenue and disbursements be maintained in accordance with financial procedures set forth herein and will provide monthly financial reports to each student organization and activity showing the current status of fund availability.  Chief accountant’s files will include approved budgets, allotments of funds, authority for requesting disbursement of funds, vouchers (check request forms), receipts of deposits, canceled checks, and other supporting documents (receipts, contracts, letters of agreement, etc.).

B. The Assistant Dean for Student Services will ensure the solvency of individual activity budget accounts by developing procedures for expenditure and revenue handling and by monitoring the monthly statements generated by the Accounting Office.

IV. Procedures

A. BUDGET APPROVAL PROCESS

1. Each of the eligible individual student organizations and activities that desire funding from student fees will develop a budget request, including a revenue projection, for the following fiscal year (July 1- June 30) and will submit this itemized request to the appropriate student group or office for review and recommendation.

a. Each student organization or publication will develop and submit budget requests to their respective umbrella organization, who will review the requests and make recommendations on funding levels to the Student Funding Board (SFB).  The SFB will review the umbrella organization requests and make recommendations on funding levels to the Director of University Unions and Student Activities.

(1) Advertising rates and subscription rates for student publications and other student media groups, and editor and student leader salaries, if applicable, may be adjusted only as part of the annual budget request process.

(2) Student publications will advise the Office of University Unions and Student Activities and the student organizations and activities of anticipated changes in advertising rates by February 1, before the club budget development process begins.

b. The Student Bar Association will submit its aggregate budget to the Associate Dean of the School of Law, who will review the request and forward it to the Assistant Dean for Student Services with recommendations and a statement itemizing intended financial support from School of Law resources.

c. Departmental student activities will submit budget requests for review and recommendation to the chair of the affiliated academic department. The department chair will forward the budget request to the Assistant Dean for Student Services with recommendations and a statement itemizing intended departmental financial support.

d. Student activities and centers will submit their budget requests directly to the Assistant Dean for Student Services.

 

2. Each student organization will be given an opportunity to defend and explain its budget request before the student budget review group or office charged with review of its budget.

 

3. Following such review, the appropriate student budget review group or office will advise the Director of University Unions and Student Activities of the recommended level of funding for each requesting group.

 

4. The Director of University Unions and Student Activities will review these recommendations and submit them, with additional recommendations, to the Associate Vice President and Dean for Student Services.

 

5. The Associate Vice President and Dean for Student Services will consider the budget requests in light of a student fee revenue projection made by the Executive Vice President for Finance and Planning and will make activity allocation recommendations to the Executive Vice President for Administration.

B. ALLOTMENT OF FUNDS

1. After a level of funding has been approved for each organization and activity and such levels are communicated to the Assistant Dean for Student Services.  The Assistant Dean will prepare a memorandum listing each funded organization and activity, the name of the student or faculty member financially responsible for the activity, the approved budget title, and the amount allocated, and submit it to the Budget Office and the chief accountant.

In the case of umbrella student organizations, each supported club, organization or committee will be shown by account number and amount on the memorandum.  This memorandum serves as the authorization to deposit allocated student fee funds into the activity’s account.

2.  Following submission of the memorandum, each student organization and activity is authorized to begin drawing upon its allotment up to the amount of its uncommitted fund balance.

3. The uncommitted fund balance represents the amount recorded in the official account to the credit of the individual student activity and consists of the combination of fee funding plus revenues deposited, less expenditures and commitments to date.

4. A Treasurers’ Workshop is conducted by the Student Services Business Manager or her/his designee in September to acquaint fiscal officers of the funded umbrella student organizations with the level of funding that has been approved, budget restrictions they must follow, procedures for procurement, expenditure of funds, and collection and deposit of revenues.  Umbrella organization treasurers then schedule similar budget development workshops for their member organizations, incorporating the additional expenditure guidelines and check request procedures of the umbrella organization, involving Student Services staff as appropriate.  This is repeated in February for newly elected treasurers.

5. A separate workshop on the budget development process is held in February for fiscal officers of all umbrella organizations intending to seek fee funds for the following fiscal year.  This initiates the budget preparation process and describes the budget request format, guidelines for funding, and budget preparation timetable.  Umbrella organization treasurers then schedule similar budget development workshops for their member organizations, incorporating the additional budget guidelines and review procedures of the umbrella organization, involving University Unions and Student Activities staff as appropriate.  Similar workshops or individual consultations are conducted by University Unions and Student Activities staff for the fiscal officers of the other student organizations and activities.

C. BUDGET TRANSFER REQUESTS AND HANDLING OF REVENUES

1. It is understood that if anticipated student fee revenues fall below the projected level, the allotment of funds may have to be adjusted accordingly.  The initial allotment of funds for an activity will not be increased or decreased except by a budget transfer request form signed by the Associate Vice President and Dean for Student Services or his/her designee.

2. Student fee money allocated for specific events, activities or purposes must be used for that event or those purposes.  If an activity or organization wishes to “reallocate” funds within its approved budget to a different purpose other than that for which the funds were granted, it must follow the procedure outlined in the Treasurer’s Handbook for Fee-Funded Student Organizations, “subsequent adjustments in budget allotments.”

3. Revenues accumulating to $25.00 or more derived from gate and admission receipts, advertisements, publication sales, membership dues, special sponsored activities, and other sources will be deposited with the Cashier by the close of business the first working day after collection.  All receipts of lesser amounts must be deposited with the Cashier by 2:00 p.m. Friday of the week collected.  Such deposits will be credited to the fund balance of the student activity or supporting club or organization responsible for the activity and will be coded as revenue.  All receipts will be recorded on a completed Cash Receipt statement. No expenditures shall be made directly from self-generated funds prior to deposit with the Cashier.

4. Monies deposited that are identified on the Cash Receipt statement remarks section as self-generated funds (whether they are anticipated or unanticipated receipts) constitute an automatic adjustment to the fund balance of the organization; and the affected organization may draw upon these self-generated funds for unrestricted purposes, subject to paragraphs D., E. and F. of this Administrative Policy.

5. Student activities and student organizations receiving an allotment of funds are prohibited from maintaining a separate outside bank account(s). All funds generated by the activity, whether from use of student fees or from other sources, must be deposited into and expended through the university account of that activity.

D. DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS

Student organizations and activities will designate specific persons by name to sign an authorization document (see Check Request Form) requesting the Chief Accountant to issue checks to the payee designated.  All authorizations will be supported by a statement certifying receipt of goods and/or services and the normal evidencing document, e.g., dealer and service invoice, receipt (original only), contract, letter of agreement, canceled check (original only), copy of bank statement documenting expenditure, etc.  In no instances will monies be disbursed unless the foregoing documentation is submitted with the proper authorization that matches the signature cards on file with University offices.

If an individual will be the payee, a signature other than that of the payee is required on the check request.  In addition to the properly signed authorization, all requests for expenditure of funds must be cosigned by the Student Services Business Manager or her/his designee.  Exception to the requirement for cosignature may be granted only with the prior written approval of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Planning, such approval to extend not beyond the end of the then-current fiscal year.  A copy of Administrative Policy Number 6 and the more detailed Treasurer’s Handbook for Fee-Funded Organizations will be provided to those designated persons empowered to sign such authorizations prior to the commencing of each regular academic year to ensure compliance with disbursing policies stated herein.  The Controller will disburse monies only on authorization from persons on the designated signature cards.  The Controller will not disburse monies in excess of the cash balance for each activity.

E. EXPENDITURE OF SELF-GENERATED REVENUES

Expenditures of self-generated revenues are subject to administrative review only to ensure adequate documentation, availability of funds and compliance with state procurement procedures.  This same level of expenditure control also will apply to any unexpended carry-forward balance of self-generated revenue from the prior fiscal year.  Supporting documentation (receipts, etc.) must be presented to support such expenditures in accordance with established accounting procedures for local accounts.  When an expenditure of self-generated revenue is being made, the check request form must indicate that the expenditure is supported by self-generated revenue.  Self-generated revenues should be projected in the overall budget plan of the student activity.

F. PURCHASING PROCEDURES AND NON-EXPENDABLE PROPERTY

1. Departmental student activities and staff-directed special programs are considered components of the University; student organizations and student publications are considered neither components of the University nor true affiliated agencies.  Nevertheless, state procurement/purchasing procedures will be applied to all fee-funded student activity accounts, whether funds to be expended are fee funds or self-generated revenues.

2. The University has the responsibility, on behalf of students, to enact procedures that will assist in maintaining controls, preventing loss and enabling identification in the case of loss.  Property purchased with student fee funds or self-generated revenues will be treated as state property and will be subjected to identification inventory control.

3. Non-expendable property is any item of equipment that does not become an integral part of some other piece of property or is not consumed in operation.  Examples are furniture, office machines, cameras, and sound equipment.  Following is the procedure for the purchase and recording of non-expendable property by student organizations and activities:

a. Within approved budgets, individual student organizations and activities will continue to determine items of equipment to be procured to meet their needs.

b. Requests to purchase a piece of non-expendable property at a price of less than $750 are to be submitted to the University’s Materiel Management office on numbered requisitions in duplicate.  If the property to be purchased exceeds $750 in value, it must be purchased through the Material Management office, applying state procurement procedures.  Requisitions should include a complete description of the item(s), the quantity required, an acceptable supplier, dates required, and other information pertinent to the request.

c. Property purchased through the Materiel Management office will be delivered by the supplier to the University’s Central Receiving warehouse, where it will be checked for conformance to purchase instructions, and will then be delivered to the ordering organization or activity.

d. Upon acceptance of delivery from the supplier, Central Receiving will affix numbered decal(s) to the property indicating that the item(s) are the property of the University.  Central Receiving will advise the Fixed Assets office of the numbers assigned to such property.  Control of the property will continue to rest with the student organization or activity for whom the purchase was made.

e. Property that is purchased directly, not utilizing the services of the Materiel Management office (items costing less than $750), will be delivered directly to the ordering organization or activity.  The person responsible for the account must notify the Fixed Assets office of any said purchase exceeding $500 and provide the necessary information to enable the placement of said property on the inventory control listing.  The Fixed Assets office will affix or provide a numbered decal for the newly acquired property.

f. The University’s Fixed Assets Manager annually conducts an inventory of the property, involving the student officer or faculty member responsible for the organization or activity’s account, as identified by the Student Services Business Manager or her/his designee.  Any shortages will be reported to the appropriate student organization or activity, to the Internal Auditor of the University, and to the Associate Vice President and Dean for Student Services for determination of action to be taken.

G. END OF FISCAL YEAR PROCEDURE

Any self-generated monies remaining in a student organization or activity account at the end of the fiscal year will be automatically carried forward to the new fiscal year.  Unexpended student fee allocations at the end of the fiscal year revert to the central student fee account.  Student organizations and activities may request a carry-forward of unexpended student fee funds to cover documented commitments remaining at the close of the fiscal year.  Such requests require the approval of the Associate Vice President and Dean for Student Services.  Organizations or activities that expend in excess of their cash balance will be required to cover such overage with self-generated revenues or will have their fee allocation for the following fiscal year reduced by an amount equivalent to the over expenditure, at the discretion of the Assistant Dean for Student Services.

Estimates of self-generated monies and end of fiscal year carry forward revenue balances will be considered in making budget allocations.  Actual end of fiscal year carry forward revenue balances, to the extent they exceed estimates, will not be deducted automatically from the student fee allocation for the new fiscal year after the completion of the regular budget request review process.  However, significant variations from the estimates provided during budget development will be subjected to review and may justify an adjustment in the allocation of student fees to the activity or organization.

V. Amendments and Additions

All amendments and additions to Administrative Policy Number 6 are to be reviewed and approved by the Executive Vice President for Administration and the Executive Vice President for Finance and Planning.

VI. Effective Date

 

The policies herein are effective July 1, 1993. This Administrative Policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually and to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.