Student organizations are a huge part of campus life; they are widely accepted as the starting place for students to get involved with the field they are interested. While student involvement is a key element in the longevity of a student organization’s life, equally as important are the segregated fee allocations each year.
By state law, students in UW campuses have the primary responsibility for the review and allocation of their segregated (or "student activity") fees. On April 12 the Student Government Association unanimously approved this year’s budget allocations.
Every year, the treasurer of each student organization writes up a budget request to be submitted to the Segregated University Fees Allocation Committee (SUFAC).
"Segregated university fees (SUF) are charges, in addition to instructional fees, assessed to all students for student services, activities, programs and facilities that support the mission of University of Wisconsin System institutions," said SGA Budget Director Kanishka Bhattacharyya.
If a student is taking over 12 credits next semester, he or she will be paying a total of $535.50 out of their tuition towards Segregated Fees, which is defined by state law as "Student Activity Funding."
In other words, a chunk of that fee is given to student organizations.
However, the student organizations on campus represent only about 25 percent of the total segregated fee allocations. The other 75 percent of UW – Stevens Point student tuition goes to other elements of the campus such as SGA, Health Services, and the University Center, which gets the largest cut of the money pie.
Bhattacharyya said that the reason the UC gets the largest cut of segregated fees is because the university is still paying off the loans taken out to build the Dreyfus University Center.
The funds that are distributed to student organizations are referred to as "allocable" and the rest, most of which is distributed to University Centers, is defined as "non-allocable."
However, Wisconsin’s law books show no distinction between the fees students have the right to directly allocate and those fees students cannot touch. That distinction is only a UW System policy, which students across the state have been working to eliminate.
Up until last year, the UWSP Student Government Association did not have any authority to review the non-allocable budget. Student rights advocates and even some legislators publicly claimed the university was violating state laws.
Students and administrators partly reformed the process by April last year. Now student representatives in the SUFAC have access to review and even possibly challenge the "non-allocable" budget, even if they cannot change the numbers.
Of the $1,053 each student will pay over the 2012-2013 academic year,
•$513.60 will go to the University Centers,
•$257 will pay for University Health Services,
•$135.60 will supply the Text Rental Service,
•$11 will be charged as a Municipal Fee, and
•$274 will fund UWSP’s student organizations.
The final category represents the "allocable" fees. In order to fund the university’s 101 student organizations, SUFAC approved a total of $840,957.38 for student org budgets.
The organizations with the most funding, in order, are: 90 FM, Student Government Association, The Pointer, Student Television, Newman Center, Women’s Resource Center and Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship.
Together, these organizations make up $366,518.16 (43 percent of the total for student orgs).
The Student Health Advisory Committee, Illuminating Engineering Society, Society for Human Resource Management, Math Club and Student Alumni Association were the five lowest-funded orgs. Of these five, the highest funding will go to the Student Alumni Association, which will have a budget of $420 next year.