New Year, New Budget

Programming Fees go back to pre-pandemic rates at $64 per semester and USG allocates $53,000 to two new funds.

As students prepare to return to campus for the fall 2021 semester, USG department funding allocations across the board will too return to normal. “This year we will revert our budget back to what it looks like in previous years,” Chief Financial Officer Adenike Makinde said.

The bulk of USG’s annual budget comes from the Undergraduate Student Programming Fee, where students pay $64 to USG each semester.

Two new funds, the Green Engagement Fund and the Accessibility Fund have been added to the budget under the Funding Department for the upcoming year.

The Green Engagement Fund will get $18,000 to implement student-driven, innovative projects to increase sustainability and raise environmental awareness at USC. The Accessibility Fund will be allocated $35,000, which will be spent on programming, events, research, advocacy and so on as deemed necessary by the Accessibility Fund’s oversight board.

Meanwhile, other funds in the Funding Department received less money to make up for the difference in the new allocations. Funds under the department do not go back to USG, but instead, go directly to students and registered student organizations (RSO).

Of the $2.5 million USG budget for the 2021-2022 school year, over $1.4 million went towards the Programming Department, which includes organizations such as the Academic Culture Assembly, the Asian Pacific American Student Assembly, and the Black Student Assembly.

The Concerts Committee has the most funding so far at $565,000, followed by the Queer and Ally Student Assembly with an allocation of $66,000.

The USG budget proposal stressed that as their priority is to support BIPOC communities and assemblies after this past year, even if they couldn’t increase their budget they would match their previous highest budget.

The only assembly with less funding is the Environmental Student Assembly because part of the money was allocated to the newly created Green Engagement Fund.

The Budget Allocation Committee plans to allocate $54,000 to support the programs of the Volunteer Center. According to the official budget proposal, the committee said they want to prioritize large-scale events to “foster more collaboration with assemblies and committees.”

Many USG officers acknowledged the need for budget transparency. Concerned that students and RSOs may not be clear on what kind of funding they have access to, USG plans to release budget transparency videos explaining different funds and an online budget tracker in the upcoming weeks.