The Financial Path
of the Youngstown State University Student Government Association
As amended 24 Jan 2005
As amended 24 Apr 2006
As amended 4 Dec 2006
As amended 23 Apr. 2007
TITLE I – Purpose, Definitions, the Committee, and Amendments
Section 101. Purpose.
(A) The Financial Path governs the usage of the Student Government Association (SGA) funds which have been designated to aid student organizations. The intention is to help fund events which will benefit Youngstown State University and its students. More assistance on the funding process will be available in the SGA office.
(B) Title I establishes the purpose of this document, definitions, provisions for the budget, and organizational structure for the Financial Appropriations Committee.
(C) Title II sets forth conditions for the nature of events SGA may fund.
(D) Title III establishes procedures for the appropriations process.
Section 102. Definitions.
(A) An “appropriation” is an amount of money up to which an organization is given authority to spend through action of the Vice President for Financial Affairs in such a manner as the Financial Appropriations Committee, in its report, or the Legislative Assembly, in the language of an appropriation bill, may permit.
(B) An “outlay” is an amount appropriated less any appropriated money that will not be spent. “Total outlays” therefore represents the total amount that is currently extended to organizations and thus cannot be extended to organizations.
(C) “Organization” or “registered student organization” shall refer to any group officially recognized as a student organization by the Office of Student Activities.
(D) “Committee” shall at all times mean the Financial Appropriations Committee, and “Chair” shall mean the chair of the same.
(E) “Fundraising” shall mean any activity in which an organization partakes that is intended to make money for the organization.
(F) “Community service” shall refer to any activity of a benevolent nature through which the organization itself does not receive compensation.
(G) An “organization membership roster” shall be a complete list of persons currently active within an organization at the present time.
(H) “Cost breakdown” shall signify a complete budget of estimated costs, requested amounts relative to those costs, and research and documentation supporting these estimates.
Section 103. Committee organization.
(A) Chair. The Chair shall –
(1) Be responsible for preparing Committee Reports and bills out of this Committee and presenting said materials to the Legislative Assembly for its consideration,
(2) Have the option of appointing a Vice Chair and Secretary from the Committee, with the consent of a majority of the Committee, and
(3) Maintain a working relationship and communication with the Vice President for Financial Affairs, and
(4) Be responsible for the duties of the Vice Chair and Secretary if s/he does not make such appointments.
(B) Vice Chair. The Vice Chair shall –
(1) Receive applications from organizations, verify their completeness, promptness, and conformance to the Financial Path as can best be determined,
(2) Schedule hearing times, and
(3) Forward applications and hearing times to Committee members and the Vice President for Financial Affairs.
(C) Secretary. The Secretary shall take notes of the occurrences of Committee meetings and compare notes with the Chair to aid in his or her reporting.
(D) Members. All Committee members shall partake in the questioning of applicants, the deliberation on recommendations, and the formulation of funding policies within the bounds of the Financial Path.
(E) Vice President for Financial Affairs. The Vice President for Financial Affairs shall –
(1) Though not a Committee member, retain all rights and duties of Committee members except for a vote,
(2) Fulfill appropriations to the fullest extent allowed by this document, approved legislation, and University policy, and maintain accountability to both SGA and student organizations, and
(3) Facilitate Committee access to applying organization’s previously filed questionnaires and receipts, and
(4) Shall receive online applications from organizations concurrently, and
(5) Receive all communications concerning appropriations in the Student Government Association Office, whether in person, by telephone, electronically or otherwise transmitted, and
(6) Have discretion to award previously appropriated monies to organizations that have breached some Financial Path policy due to extenuating circumstances.
Section 104. Committee Reports and legislation.
(A) The Committee Report shall –
(1) Include all relevant information from the applications and interviews, the sense of the Committee regarding the benefit of events and other details as needed,
(2) Establish an amount up to which to be appropriated and as much guidance in how to use it as the Committee deems necessary, and
(3) Remind the Legislative Assembly of current balances and the effect appropriations as recommended would have.
(4) Describe judgements or new policies of the Committee, which must be within the bounds of this document and University policy.
(B) Appropriation bills shall be written with each organization’s appropriation as a line-item and may include temporary corollaries to the Financial Path that do not conflict with it.
Section 105. Amendments to the Financial Path.
(A) The Legislative Assembly may enact changes to the Financial Path through a supermajority vote of two-thirds (2/3).
(B) No amendment made to the Financial Path shall go into effect until the beginning of the semester following such an amendment.
(C) No amendment to the Financial Path shall affect enacted appropriation bills or applications pending prior to the enactment of amendments.
(D) Subsections (B) and (C) above exclude amendments which are made to conform to University policy, which may be made by the Chair unless a member of the Legislative Assembly objects, in which case a vote shall be cast.
TITLE II – Guidelines for Applicants
Section 201. General guidelines.
(A) All funding and events funded must be within the bounds of federal, state, and local laws, as well as University policies.
(B) Funds shall be disbursed to organizations for a specific event or events, and never for the sole discretion of the organization.
(C) Organizations must use SGA funds with honesty and integrity.
(D) No Organization shall be awarded a combined amount of more than seven (7) percent of the appropriations budget during a fiscal year. Any recommended appropriation amounts beyond this amount shall be voted on and passed only with the unanimous consent of the Financial Appropriations Committee. Any appropriation beyond this amount shall be noted as being beyond the limit in any legislation and committee reports pertaining to it.
(E) Applications will be accepted –
(1) during the fall and spring semesters for events occurring during or between those semesters, and
(2) during the spring semester for events occurring during the summer but not for which payment must occur after the end of the fiscal year (June 30th).
(F) Funding is not permissible for events which satisfy graduation or course requirements.
(G) Organizations may apply only once per event.
(H) SGA is not able nor shall be compelled to incur expenses made or obligated by an organization prior to enactment of relevant appropriations or, upon such enactment, instruction by the Vice President for Financial Affairs.
Section 202. Open events.
(A) All events which are social in nature, or are educational but do not involve travel, must be open to the public and are therefore bound by the rules in this section.
(B) YSU Student Government Association must be named as a (co-)sponsor, including in verbal announcements at the event and in print and other advertising.
(C) These events may only be held in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
(D) These events must be open to all YSU students and publicized as such.
Section 203. Travel.
(A) All events which take an organization’s members to a conference or competition of some nature shall be considered travel.
(B) Events of this nature shall be funded through a Travel Expense Report (formerly known as a travel voucher) on which all travellers must be included. Eligible student driver(s) with appropriate insurance as determined by University policy will be required.
(C) Travel funded through SGA shall be done so at rates consistent with University policy.
(D) Students should refer to the Web site of the Vice President for Administration of the University, currently located at http://www.ysu.edu/vpadmin/, for up-to-date University policy regarding travel. The Vice President for Financial Affairs of SGA is also a resource for understanding this information.
(E) If one or more other University departments committing funds to travel approved by SGA, the funds shall be transferred from SGA’s account to one of the other departments, and travel arrangements shall be handled through that department.
(F) Only travel expenses that can be funded through pre-payment can be reimbursed for summer travel, unless the funds are to be transferred to another department before the end of the fiscal year.
TITLE III – The Appropriations Process
Section 301. Applying for funds.
(A) Any registered student organization may apply for funding for a specific purpose which is allowed under Title II of this document.
(B) At minimum, any official application for funding shall contain room for the organization and contact person(s)’ names, event description, cost breakdown, other funding for the organization, the organization’s community service, and the intended benefit to YSU.
(C) The Committee reserves the right to request an organization membership roster if it would be material to the organization’s request.
(D) Organizations will have read any ancillary materials concerning appropriations published by SGA. These materials will be distributed during the application process.
(E) Applications must be submitted to the Student Government Association, either in the office or electronically through the website, no later than four (4) weeks prior to the event for which funds are requested. Applicants are responsible for retaining all receipts and materials concerning their appropriation request.
(F) An applicant can expect a response from the Chair or Vice Chair of the Committee within one (1) week from the date of application. After that point, it becomes the responsibility of the applicant to contact the Vice President for Financial Affairs regarding the pending application.
(G) A meeting shall be scheduled with the Committee during regularly scheduled meeting hours as determined by the Student Government Association, unless the Committee decides otherwise. Attendance at this hearing shall be mandatory. The Committee shall hold make-up hearings for missed appointments at its discretion and convenience.
Section 302. Committee hearing.
(A) The Committee shall entertain from each applicant a presentation on the information found in the application. At least one student whose name appears on the application must be present. Advisors are allowed but are not sufficient for this exchange to occur.
(B) The applicant should be prepared to illustrate how the funding requested is a supplement to funds raised thus far, or how raising other funds has been impossible or impractical.
(C) An organization’s record in community service shall be considered, and thus should be explained by the applicant.
(D) The intended benefit of the event to the University, particularly its current students, should likewise be explained. In general, the most beneficial events are those which positively affect the most students and are closest in proximity to them.
(E) Once the Committee is done questioning the applicant, the Chair will inform the applicant of the Legislative Assembly meeting during which his or her request will come to a vote, excuse the applicant, and commence deliberations.
(F) The Committee shall deliberate on the request and prepare a recommendation, to be included in the Committee Report.
(G) An appropriation bill, containing all non-zero recommendations codified as legislation, shall also be reported out of the Committee.
(H) The Committee may determine that it has been presented with inadequate information and put the request on hold until it has the information it needs.
Section 303. Legislative Assembly approval.
(A) The Vice President for Financial Affairs shall report on the status of outlays with respect to the resolution on the budget and the total amount of the budget. This will be read into the minutes.
(B) The Chair shall present his or her report and move the appropriation bill to the floor for discussion.
(C) The Chair shall yield thirty (30) seconds of speaking time to one member of each applying organization in attendance after voicing his or her report.
(D) No SGA member may address an applicant without prior permission from the President except for the Chair. No applicant may be yielded more than thirty (30) seconds at a time.
(E) Amendments may be proposed to adjust the amount allocated to an organization, including instances in which the Committee has not recommended funds.
(F) It shall not be in order in the Legislative Assembly to consider any appropriation bill or amendment thereto which violates the terms of this document.
Section 304. Spending on appropriations.
(A) Organizations must contact the Vice President for Financial Affairs to establish an initial meeting time by the earlier of –
(1) two (2) weeks after being appropriated money, or
(2) one (1) week before the funded event, when possible.
(B) The Vice President for Financial Affairs shall impart all relevant information, particularly that which is extraneous to the Financial Path or unique to the situation, to the recipient of funds, gather information necessary to complete appropriations, and distribute the appropriate paperwork.
(C) The Vice President for Financial Affairs shall avail him or herself to the funding recipient for subsequent meetings as necessary and at the convenience of both parties.
(D) The Vice President for Financial Affairs shall complete the monetary transactions necessary to complete appropriations.
(E) If there are alterations to the cost of a funded event, the Vice President for Financial Affairs shall recalculate the appropriation accordingly, but never to increase the sum of the appropriation.
(F) If it is believed that a substantive change to the basis of funding occurs, the Committee must be informed and determine if a new hearing must be scheduled.
(1) After such a hearing, Legislative approval will again be necessary if the Committee must recommend for a different amount or purpose.
(2) No re-appropriation may exceed the original appropriation.
Section 305. Documentation and other requirements.
(A) Acceptance and Receipt. All organizations must sign a form accepting the appropriation and agreeing to the terms of the Financial Path, the relevant appropriation bill and the relevant Committee Report.
(1) The Vice President for Financial Affairs may not transact business for an appropriation until acceptance by the organization.
(2) This form will also be used as an itemized receipt, and a copy will be issued to an organization upon completion of the appropriation.
(B) Questionnaire. All organizations receiving funding must complete a questionnaire form.
(1) At minimum, organizations will be expected to identify how money was spent, how a funded event went relative to expectations and how it benefited YSU.
(2) This form will be filed in the SGA office along with the acceptance/receipt form for viewing by the Committee when determining appropriations for an organization in the future.
(C) Completion. Including the questionnaire form, all paperwork for funded events must be completed within the ten (10) business days following the event, barring any mitigating circumstances.
(1) Failure to complete the appropriation in a timely manner will result in a funding moratorium for the organization for the remainder of the academic year.
(2) The Vice President for Financial Affairs shall take into account any mitigating circumstances.
(D) Summer. The Vice President for Financial Affairs, or his/her designee for summer, shall take care to ensure that no appropriation affects any fiscal year following its enactment.
Section 306. Summer appropriations.
(A) Applications will be deemed as Summer appropriations if they are received for events where payment must occur –
(1) between the end of a previous fiscal year and
(2) before a new committee for hearing such requests is assembled.
(B) The Vice President of Financial Affairs shall be burdened with the duties of both the temporary chairship and his/her normal duties during this period.
(C) The Vice President for Financial Affairs may chair a meeting of the Executive Committee for the purposes of making appropriations.
(1) The procedure for these meetings shall adhere to normal Committee hearing procedures to make appropriations.
(2) Appropriations up to five-hundred (500) dollars for applications deemed to be in the Summer appropriations period may be made.
(3) The total number of appropriations made in this fashion shall not exceed a total of five (5) during this Summer appropriations period.