Student government gets budget boost

Marquette Student Government allocated its largest student activity fee excess revenue in more than three years, funneling the surplus to student organizations and programs.

The student activity fee, paid by all full-time undergraduate students, is MUSG's main revenue source and is currently $24 per semester.

When MUSG created its budget for the fiscal year of 2005, it underestimated the rate of student retention between the fall 2004 and spring 2005 semesters, according to MUSG Financial Vice President Andre Doyle, a College of Business Administration junior.

MUSG originally expected the budget for the 2004-'05 school year to total $312,000. The extra student activity fee revenue boosted the actual budget to $330,000. The underestimation led to an extra $18,000 that MUSG can spend.

The estimated enrollment is typically conservative and surplus funds are often available if actual enrollment exceeds projections, according to Timothy Lefeber, MUSG president and Student Organization Allocation Budget Committee member.

The MUSG Senate allocated the excess funds Thursday to cover new programs, special events, bank fees, student organization allotments and other expenses.

"Putting the money towards more programs and student organization allocation is a positive move," Lefeber said. "It'll give students a chance to take part in some of these events and apply for money for some of their own events."

Several Senate members voted against the measure to allocate funds to new programs because they wanted to make a larger part of the excess funds available to student organizations.

Senators do not often get involved with the budget at such a detailed level, but they have the right to do so, said Jon Dooley, MUSG adviser and Office of Student Development assistant dean.

The MUSG programming board requested about $3,500 for two new programs: "Big Night on Milwaukee" and "Summer's Early at the Dells."

Another $5,000 will fund the Residence Hall Association's Little Sibs Weekend in April.

MUSG allocated about $2,400 to M&I Bank for account activity and for technology expenses in the MUSG office.

There are two of the seven student organization allocation periods remaining this school year, in which organizations can apply for more than $17,000, Doyle said. About $10,000 remained in the allocation budget before an extra $7,100 rolled in from the excess activity fee revenue.

MUSG has allocated about $74,000 to student organizations so far this fiscal year.

Doyle said the allocations provide an opportunity for students to get a little more out of their mandatory fees without paying any more this year.

Next year, the student activity fee will increase from $24 to $27 per semester.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Feb. 8 2005.