Student Activities

RSO Finance

Introduction

If you've never been responsible for a budget or even written a check, we're here to help! Student Activities staff is committed to helping you navigate the challenges of successful financial management for your RSO.

One of the roles and expectations of Coordinator is the financial management of your RSO budget. If your group has received annual funding or Special Initiative funding through the Services and Activities Fee Allocation Board (S&A Board), there are certain financial responsibilities that are inherent in your role as coordinator. You have been entrusted by your constituency to assure that all purchases conform to your organization's objectives, expenditure plan and to monitor and account for the financial health of your organization. While Student Activities Administration will provide you with resources and assistance in accomplishing this task, ultimately the management of your organization's financial resources is in your hands. Up to the challenge? This section will provide you with a general understanding of the various processes. Remember that in most cases you have a budget that was approved, and you as the coordinator of the RSO need to be referring to the budget and the consensus of your group for guidance.

Step one is to know your budget number, or ORG number. For Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) they follow a predictable pattern and begin 445XXX or 494XX. Your advisor can inform you of your RSO budget number. If your RSO has not yet applied for funding from the S&A Board, a budget number will be assigned to your group after you receive your first budget award. If you need an additional copy of your budget, or have any questions, please see your advisor, or the S&A Board.

Role of the Student Activities Advisor

Student Activities staff is here to help you make the most of your budget. As you're preparing, make sure that what the RSO wishes to purchase fits in line with its awarded budget, the covenant, RSO mission statement and within the framework of state law. Unsure about what that means? Just stop by and chat with your advisor. Student Activities staff are here to help you navigate the various processes and policies regarding budgets. Additionally, advisors are full of ideas to help you and your RSO succeed.

Given that Evergreen is a state-funded college, there are particular state-level processes we need to follow to spend, transfer, and account for all purchases. You'll find the advisors are here to help you make sense of what it means to work with state funds and here to help you fulfill your RSOs goals, whatever those might be. It's not like taking a five-dollar bill to the market - and each process takes differing amounts of time. It's best to start early - NOT THE WEEK YOU NEED IT! What's essential to remember is that your advisor is an up-to-date resource for helping your get the most of your budget.

Coordinator Learning Allotments

As your RSO submits a budget to the S&A Board, you can request a Learning Allotment for the Coordinator(s). The S&A Board awards Coordinator Learning Allotments in order to support all students in pursuing equitable access to extra-curricular activities at the college. Learning allotments are disbursed twice per quarter based on the calendar provided by the Student Activities Office. Because learning allotments are not considered "hourly employment", coordinators who work on campus can still work a full 19-hour student work schedule.  However, learning allotments are considered "income" so it is required to have a current I-9 & W-4 on file with the college and your income is typically subject to federal income tax withholding. Coordinators receiving a learning allotment must be enrolled for at least six undergraduate or four graduate credits to qualify. Learning allotments are typically awarded at three levels:

Level I: $1,434 / full year ($478 per quarter)
Level II: $2,388 / full year ($796 per quarter)
Level III: $3,186 / full year ($1,062 per quarter)
Governance: $1074 / full year ($358 per quarter)

If your RSO is eligible to receive a Learning Allotment, the student coordinators are responsible for submitting an updated Contact Sheet, W-4, and I-9 when they start the leadership position. Additionally, the coordinator must submit a Student Leadership Activity Report (SLAR) by the dates provided on the Student Activities calendar to generate the check. It is essential that you communicate with your advisor any leadership changes right away, otherwise the new coordinator may be delayed in receiving their Learning Allotment.

New RSOs are generally only eligible for Level I funding. After working at Level I funding for one year, groups can approach the S&A Board for increases to their allocation. By completing this first year of activity, the group will be better able to evaluate its actual needs so it can request the appropriate level of funding during the annual budget allocation cycle. If there is more than one paid coordinator, the coordinators share the allocation. Learning Allotments are awarded based on level of group activity, having multiple coordinators does not qualify a group for an increased level. Each RSO can have a maximum of (3) coordinators receiving the learning allotment at one time. For more information regarding the Learning Allotment process see the S&A Board or your advisor.

Student Money & State Money - Typical Expenses

S&A Fees are often referred to as "student money", the way the state governs these funds is that each dollar is designated as a state resource and must be managed as such. What that means to RSOs is that there are legal and state policy constraints that regulate the "what, where and how" of spending S&A Fee money. As informed by state law and current allocation guidelines by the S&A Board, the following list will be helpful in understanding what a generally allowed use of state money is and what is not, but please if you are unsure please ask your advisor! Check out this list:

Expenses Generally NOT ALLOWED Expenses Generally ALLOWED
  • Food
  • Gifts
  • Give-a-ways
  • Hiring students
  • Unethical purchases
  • Purchases that result in a
    benefit for the purchaser
    outside of the benefit
    that all students
    may receive.
  • Books & Pamphlets
  • Subscriptions & Postage
  • Rental Films
  • Printing & Photocopying
  • Client Services
  • Coordinator Learning Allotments
  • Education / Training
  • Media Services (labor & equipment)
  • Misc. Office Supplies (paper, etc.)
  • RSO equipment and supplies

Start-Up Budget

The S&A Board has set aside a limited number of $90 Start-Up Operational Budgets for unfunded RSOs. This budget is intended to aid new RSOs and returning RSOs who do not already have S&A Board funding. Remember that the amount of funding is limited, and this program may end at any time. Receiving a start-up budget does not qualify a group as a "funded" group from the point of view of Event Planning. The following conditions apply to receive a start-up budget:

  1. The RSO must complete full registration and turn in the Registration Packet to their advisor. Additionally, the RSO must complete the Finance Workshop.
  2. The RSO must not currently be funded by the S&A Board during the academic year. The Start-Up Operational Budget is not for RSOs that run out of funding, but those new and returning RSOs who do not already have S&A Board funding.
  3. The budget cannot be used for learning allotments, contracted services, activities with over 100 persons, cash-handling, off-campus advertising, travel, food, co-sponsoring another groups activity, or activities that require RART Review.
  4. The RSO must complete a Start-Up Budget Request Form, which is available from the RSO advisor.
  5. After the RSO has successfully completed the application, they will be notified via email if they are awarded a Start-Up Budget. Once awarded, it may take five to seven business days for the budget to become active.

Spending the Budget

There are a number of ways in which your budget may be spent. Please see your advisor before purchasing for the first time. Each category or purchasing is covered briefly in the sections that follow:

Greener Store Purchases

The Greener Store, formerly known as the Evergreen Bookstore, is available for special purchases such as books and some unique art supplies. Student groups may charge a maximum of $25 per month at the Greener Store. A Greener Store ID card is available for each RSO. When purchasing at the Green Store, request the card from the Front Desk, sign the back, and return it to the Front Desk along with the receipt. Office supplies such as pens, pencils, paper clips, staples, etc. are available from the Student Organization supply cabinet and should not be purchased from the Greener Store.

Under no circumstances may items such as food, candy, personal items, T-shirts, or academic related items be purchased. The bookstore hours are 8am to 6pm Monday through Thursday, and 8am to 5pm Friday, and 11-2pm on Saturday.

Client Services Agreement

This is a legally binding contract entered into by the college (on behalf of your RSO) and another party, usually an individual, but may also be an organization, non-profit, or business. The purpose of the contract is to define the services to be provided by the contracted vendor and the compensation to be provided by the college, through your budget, in return for those services. It's essential that when requesting a Client Services Agreement that they are prepared at least three weeks in advance of your event. Under no circumstances are students to enter into contracts provided by the vendors or to ever sign contacts. You must use our State Contracts. Within Student Activities, this process begins with the blank Client Services Worksheet. Please also see the Sample Worksheet for guidance. See Event Planning section for more information.

Purchase Requisition & Purchasing Card

The Purchase Requisition and Purchasing Card are two different ways of achieving the same goal - acquiring goods & services. However, they are used in different circumstances.

The Purchase Requisition is to be used to acquire authorized goods and services where:
The vendor agrees to accept a state purchase order. What this means to the vendor is that The Evergreen State College agrees to pay the vendor for goods or services purchased within 30 days of the receipt of the invoice (receipt).

  1. The college will do business with this vendor on a regular basis. That is, we will be ordering from this vendor more than just a few times.
  2. The purchase is travel related, for example, paying for overnight accommodations when in authorized travel status.
  3. A purchase to a single vendor will not meet or exceed $3,500.00 (before taxes). All purchase requisitions that meet or exceed $3,500.00 must be determined through a competitive bid process. For more information on the bid process, please see your advisor.

The Purchasing Card may be used to acquire authorized goods and services where:

  1. The vendor will not accept a state purchase order.
  2. The purchase will not exceed $1,000.00
  3. The purchase is not travel related.
  4. The purchase is with a vendor that will be used infrequently.
  5. For on-line purchases.
  6. The purchase is time sensitive. (This consideration is not to accommodate poor planning, but rather to address last minute demands.)

Both the Purchase Requisition and Purchasing card can be initiated by the Purchase Request Form. When this form is completed, it will be submitted to your RSO advisor. They will review the request and clarify any questions that may arise and then forward for processing.

If a Purchase Requisition is indicated, a request will be forwarded to the Evergreen Purchasing Office to create a Purchase Order. After creation of a Purchase Order, a copy of the Purchase Order is transmitted to the vendor. This process normally takes about two days. During very busy times for Purchasing, usually the end of the school year, processing time can be extended to three or four days. When we place the requisition, you will be required to specify a delivery mode. The four delivery modes are prepay, pick-up, regular order, or site delivery. Here are the definitions of these delivery modes:

  • Regular Orders: The PO is sent to the vendor and the vendor ships the item directly to the college Shipping and Receiving Department. The Shipping and Receiving Department then delivers the item to Student Activities.
  • Pickup Order: The PO is hand carried to the vendor, and you select the items. The vendor will either bill the college or will give you the receipt that must be given to your advisor.
  • Prepay Orders: Items such as magazines, tickets, videotapes and books are examples of prepay. This means that an order form, or subscription card must be attached to the request. When the PO is sent to the vendor, a check will also be sent paying for the items. The items will be delivered directly to Student Activities. Conference registration fees are another form of pre-pay.
  • Site Delivery: The PO is sent to the vendor and the vendor delivers the item directly to a specified site on campus. These deliveries require the coordination of having the coordinator of the RSO meet the vendor at the specified site at a predetermined time. These deliveries usually involve large, heavy items such as building materials, heavy motorized equipment, furniture, tents and canopies.

It is essential, in the cases of "pickup and site delivery" orders or purchases in which the Purchasing Card is used and you pick-up the item from the vendor, that you receive an invoice or receipt from the vendor and that the invoice be turned in to their advisor for processing. Failure to do so will delay payment to the vendor involved, and may cause that vendor to be less inclined to do business with us in the future.

Inter-Organization Transfer (IOT)

The Inter-Organization Transfer is the method that the college uses to bill one college department for services rendered by another college department. The IOT, as this document is known, is the way your organization will be charged for services such as hanging a banner over the Library Building entry way, some purchases or rentals, Media Services charges, Building Services (custodial) charges and so on. IOTs have the potential of throwing your budget a curve ball. The reason for this is that not all college departments initiate these documents in a timely manner. So, we may not actually be charged for the service immediately after the service is rendered. In some cases we are only charged once a month or even once a quarter. These expenses are only posted to your financial record when the IOT is processed. Therefore, it's essential to keep track of your budget carefully, as expenses can post months after receiving the good or service. It's also possible for RSOs and other areas of the college to Co-Sponsor events. Use the Co-Sponsorship Form. See more information on Co-Sponsorships in the Event Planning Section.

Petty Cash or A-19 (Personal Reimbursement)

A form used to authorize payment where vendor receipts are provided as backup. This is the form to be used to accommodate reimbursement when authorized goods are purchased out of pocket by an individual. There are a number of things to be considered when spending funds in anticipation of reimbursement. Please check with your advisor before making any purchases using reimbursement. Warning, it's possible to make a purchase and NOT receive a reimbursement unless the purchase complies with the following:

  1. Assure that all purchases conform to your RSO's mission, objectives and approved S&A Board awarded budget. 
  2. Your advisor must authorize your request prior to making the purchase.
  3. A receipt must be itemized with each item clearly labeled itemizing each item purchased.
  4. Vendor information, such as name, address, and phone number should be clearly identified.
  5. Reimbursement is not being claimed for unauthorized purchases.
  6. No single reimbursement receipt should exceed $200.00.

For purchases over $100, reimbursement will require an A-19 (see your advisor) and be processed in the form of a check that will be mailed to you or picked up by you in the TESC Cashier's Office five to seven working days after processing. Purchases less than $100 will be processed by a Petty Cash Voucher (see your advisor). You will need to pick up your reimbursement at the Cashier's Office. It will not be mailed to you.

Travel

Because of the potential for misuse, using state funds for travel is a purposefully complicated process. It will be necessary for your organization to work closely with your advisor to make your organization's travel experience as problem-free as possible.

All students who are planning to travel will need to fill out a Tentative Travel Worksheet with estimated prices of all necessary components to your trip. You will need to work with your advisor to complete this form and then present it to the S&A Board for funding approval.

Please note that students may need to gain S&A Board approval for travel up to three months ahead of time depending on the complexity of the trip. Please review the RSO Travel Guidelines worksheet and work with your advisor in order to estimate how much time you will need. The S&A Board may ask the RSO to fundraise a certain percentage of the costs for your trip. The RSO must have fundraised the full amount requested before traveling.

Other notes on travel:

  • All travel in connection with a RSO that is being funded with S&A Funds, must be approved by the S&A Board.
  • An Evergreen Travel Authority must be completed by your Advisor before any travel arrangements may be made; this includes van reservations or rental vehicle arrangements.
  • Students are not authorized a travel advance.
  • Individuals will not be reimbursed for air travel in excess of the state rate if one is available.
  • An A-20 must be completed within three (3) working days of return from travel status. See your advisor for assistance.
  • A Travel Evaluation must be submitted within five days of return from travel status.
  • See the Travel section for more details.

Budget Changes and Transfers / Fiscal Year Information

It is inevitable that items your RSO budgeted for may change mid-year. And under normal group consensus and consultation with your group advisor, you can make minor mid-year changes that are in the best interest of your RSO. However, there are three major functional budget areas and funds cannot transfer between these three areas without approval of the S&A Board. Those three areas are Learning Allotments, Goods/Services, and Travel. If your group desires to move money from one functional area to another within your budget you will need to speak with your advisor to construct a memo to appeal to the S&A Board.

Fiscal Year Information: The Fiscal Year runs from July 1st until June 30th every year. Your RSO needs to have all budget processes started no later than June 1st if you wish to use funds within that Fiscal Year. RSO budgets are approved annually and S&A Board funds DO NOT roll over at the end of the Fiscal Year. Any funds or deficits remaining in your budget at the end of the Fiscal Year are returned to the S&A Board.

Fundraising & Special Revenue Accounts

RSOs are able to do fundraising and raffles. College policy clearly states Registered Student Organizations, including S&A governance groups are accountable to the policies and procedures of the Student Activities Office in reference to fundraising activities. The information contained in the Student Activities Handbook will serve as the guidelines for all fundraising efforts. Fundraising activities cannot be seeded by S&A Funds. Any fundraising, where the proceeds will be deposited with the Foundation, must follow the College Fundraising Policy in addition to the Student Activities Handbook. The proceeds of those fundraisers can be placed into a "Special Revenue" budget for purchasing food or other RSO priorities. These funds roll-over each year. Please see your advisor for more information.