Student activity fee budget

Jaime Brown

Every Washburn University department faces the trials and tribulations of budgeting and the Washburn Student Government Association is no exception.

Even departments that exist to dish out funds have to account for acquiring their monies as well as how they spend that budget. Most students probably never take the time to itemize precisely what their thousands of dollars are going toward aside from the vague idea of tuition. Should a student really get down to parsing their annual school bill they’ll notice the ever present “activity fee.”

Tiny in comparison to the various other monstrosities, otherwise known as school fees, the student activity fee is the bread and butter for WSGA.

The organization gets its money from student activity fees which are tacked onto each student’s bill. The $43 fee is small for each student, but it adds up and pools together to help fund campus organizations.

Three major student organizations receive a decent chunk of the student activity prize. Those organizations are the University Childcare Development Program, the Dancing Blues, and the Cheer Squad.

“The WSGA gets around 60 percent or 70 percent of the total activity fee,” said Keenan Hogan, WSGA budget director.

The remaining money helps fund other student organizations such as the Review and the Campus Activities Board. The leftovers after that are divided among various other clubs at Washburn. Exactly who gets what is decided by the Washburn University Board of Regents.

Of course no school department runs without employees and those employees do get paid. However their pay only accounts for 16.9 percent of the student activity fees.

Despite the set-in-stone budget the WSGA does occasionally allocate funds for a group or event that needs more funding.

“We sometimes move money in the budget but I don’t think that happens very often,” said Hogan. “We pretty much work with the amount of money that is assessed through students enrolled.”

As the governing body of Washburn University, the Board of Regents is made up of nine members and is an entitity required by law. Of the nine members, the governor of Kansas and the mayor of Topeka each appoint three members. Two other members are selected by the the Shawnee County Commission and the Kansas Board of Regents and a final seat is filled by the mayor or a member of city’s governing body.

The appointee determined by the Kansas Regent only serves a one-year term; all other members serve staggered four-year terms. The remaining additional members are James Roth, Christel Marquardt, and vice chair Ben Blair all of whom were selected by the governor.

The Washburn Student Government Association gets a budget at the beginning of the year and goes from there. Typically the organization won’t go too far beyond that budget, as the bulk of the allocation is cemented at the beginning of the fiscal year. There is a WSGA reserve fund for those rare occasions Washburn University needs a major pep boost. While that is indeed rare a certain amount of funds are kept in that reserve.

“We always find we don’t have the funds we think we need, and we don’t really do fundraising because we don’t want to ask students for more money,” said Hogan.

Despite the glaring bureaucracy of it all the WSGA is ultimately dedicated to the student body. According to its Web site even declares “the Washburn Student Government Association is responsible for the bulk of the money collected from student activity fees. We choose to give it back to the students in the form of student organization funding and the services we offer.”

Washburn Student Government Association is a public organization on Washburn’s campus and as such its budget is made public record. Anyone can check out their Web site for information on exactly how the WSGA’s portion of the student activity fee is spent.

Also available on the site are funding documents and student government form.

For more information on the budgets or to see what other information is available, visit the WSGA Web site at or call 670-1169.