Fall ASA budget higher than previous years due to increase in student activity fee

Despite a lower enrollment rate than previous years, the Augustana Student Association (ASA) has a higher budget this fall than last year due to the increase in the price of the student activity fee.

According to data provided by ASA Treasurer Hunter Lipinski, ASA received $122,800 last fall from student activity fees. This fall, the number increased to $128,000. Lipinski said this was a result of last year’s tuition increase, which included a higher student activity fee.

Chart by Andrew Kronaizl

Despite the increased fee, Lipinski expected the decreased freshman class size to result in a lower allocation than last fall.

“I wasn’t expecting [a higher budget],” Lipinski said. “The number I was expecting was $117,000 [. . .] but then was told it was $128,000. So, where that difference came from, I have no idea.”

Lipinski said he’ll be looking into it as the ASA Finance Committee works on making the breakdown of the student fees public.

ASA has $20,000 in excess funds from last year, which Lipinski said was due to fewer expenses because of COVID-19. ASA’s total budget for this fall is $148,798, which is more than $13,000 higher than last fall.

Because many of ASA’s financial allocations are based on percentage of its total budget, certain organizations also received more money from ASA than last fall.

ASA’s budget consists of four main expense areas: large organization allocations, other fixed allocations, ASA accounts and other expenses.

The allocations for the four large organizations that receive funding directly from ASA are all fixed at a specific percentage of ASA’s budget. Union Board of Governors (UBG) receives 35% of the budget, Viking Days receives 15%, Recreational Services receives 7.5% and Students Keeping Ole’s Legacy (SKOL) receives 5%.

These allocations come to a total of 62.5% of ASA’s budget, and that amounted to $80,000 this fall.

Arden Koenecke, the co-chair of Viking Days, said her committee planned to spend less on Viking Days this year due to the decreased enrollment. Once they got their allocation, which was more than they were expecting, they put the extra money toward purchases for future Viking Days, such as new thrones.

UBG co-head governor Holden Sutter said UBG’s increased budget will allow the organization to plan more creative events this year.

“We’re going to try to be more creative with what we do,” Sutter said. “We might be able to bring in new, different things and spend a bit more money on that.”

The expense area of other fixed allocations includes payments to ASA officers, as well as money for student organizations that complete ASA’s student leadership training. The total for those expenses amounted to $16,969 this fall.

The expense area of ASA accounts includes the general, senate and executive funds, as well as funds for when student organizations request money from ASA. ASA’s personal funds amount to $12,000, while its funds for helping student organizations amount to $13,500.

Last fall, the funds for helping student organizations amounted to $22,980. Lipinski said the decrease in this year’s funds was mainly due to COVID-19. Because Lipinski expected fewer student organizations to request money for traveling expenses, those funds were decreased and distributed to the personal ASA funds. Lipinski also said, if need be, money could be moved from the personal funds back to the funds for helping organizations.

The expense area of additional costs includes ASA’s postgraduate test reimbursement fund, online newspaper subscriptions for students, free transportation through Sioux Area Metro, PODS storage containers for students and maintenance for Bike Club. This year, the new student Lyft program is also included in this area.

The total allocations for additional costs amounted to $17,065 this fall, but some of these costs, such as the postgraduate fund and Lyft program, are subject to change.

With ASA’s total expenses only coming to $139,534, this fall’s budget includes an expected surplus of $9,264 which would go towards its next semester budget.

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