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Student organizations talk impact of changed Student Services Fee application process

The change will allow for funding requests to happen closer to the event being held, instead of at semester breaks.
Graphic by Morgan La Casse
The change reflected the want from student groups to more accurately plan for their events.

The University of Minnesota’s Office for Student Affairs announced the application process for student groups applying for event funding has changed. Student groups are now allowed to request funds throughout the semester instead of once a semester. 

The Student Services Fee provides groups’ whose events are approved to have a way to fund the event. In the past, groups had four different opportunities to apply for events. 

Associate director of the Office for Student Affairs Sara Carvell explained in an email to the Minnesota Daily that last year, if an event was taking place in fall 2022, a student group could request funding in April or October 2022. If an event was taking place in spring 2023, groups could apply either in November 2022 or in February 2023. 

Funding for large events have to be requested at least two months in advance and other events, referred to as regular events, have to be requested at least one month in advance. 

“Groups have the opportunity to request as many events and as much money, as they did last year,” Carvell said. 

The feedback leading to this process change was student groups wanted more opportunities to apply for funds and be able to wait until officer elections to make requests for fall events. Carvell said these new changes give groups more flexibility, and some students see this as positive change. Black Student Union’s (BSU) board member, Cyrus Jarjay, said, “we don’t have to have all of the planning already figured out before the school year begins.” 

Andar Farhan, co-treasurer for Al-Madinah Cultural Center said this new process “is an impactful change in a series of occurring as pandemic era guidelines and policies wind down, especially as it relates to the SSF.”

The change may require some adjusting on the administrative side and on the side of student groups, according to Carvell, and added since the application process is now on a rolling basis, the Student Services Fees Committee (SSFC) along with advisors and workers in the finance office will have more administrative work. 

From the perspective of the student groups, the change consists of a large amount of information that can be a bit overwhelming and confusing when they start off, but they are often encouraged to reach out for assistance, said Jarjay. 

Nazish Khan, co-treasurer for Al-Madinah Cultural Center, said in an email to the Daily all of the different parts of the application process can make it difficult to know exactly if the organization is filling out the right part.

 “It seems that there is always something that we’re missing, or some form to fill out,” Khan wrote. 

Student groups are encouraged to ask questions if they do not understand a part of the process. Carvell said the Office of Student Affairs communicates “regularly with group leaders to ensure they understand how the process works.”

Carvell added one of the goals of this new process is to make SSFC funds more accessible throughout the year. Carvell hopes student groups become more creative with their requests for funds as a result of this change. 

Student groups look forward to seeing how this change will affect both their organizations, but also other ones. Farhan said he is “interested in seeing all of the events that are executed … as a result of these changes.”

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