The Kwantlen Student Association’s 2018 budget has been drafted by its finance committee and is scheduled to receive final approval at the next KSA Council meeting on Dec. 15.
Toward the end of each year, the KSA Finance & Operations Committee works to create a plan for how the association will use the money entrusted to it by KPU students over the following year. The KSA manages millions of dollars, and the allocation of these funds is not a job they take lightly.
KSA Vice President Finance & Operations Rawan Ramini says that the 2018 budget represents a significant overhaul for the society—one that future VPs in her position can use as a model for years to come.
“This is my last year as a VP … and I wanted the last year to count. I wanted to create a budget that future VP Finances don’t need to worry about too much,” says Ramini. “I’ve worked very hard on creating a very sustainable, tight budget that will be nice to work with.”
The process of creating the yearly budget begins with the VP Finance looking over the society’s operations over the past three years. By comparing spending trends during that time, they are able to see which line items are likely to need more funding and which ones can be safely cut down. The object of this is to have as few cases of additional funding needing to be allocated through the next year as possible.
Next, the VP Finance meets with KSA staff to discuss what needs to be seen in the budget to accommodate the projects that the association will be working on that year. After gathering and assessing the projected costs, the finance committee convenes to decide what is feasible, what isn’t, and how much can be allocated to each project. The budget is revised three times before it’s sent to Council.
One of the most interesting changes in the 2018 budget is the dedication of $162,684 towards student awards and bursaries—an increase of nearly $100,000 as compared to last year. Some of this cash is being used to top up existing endowed awards, but most of it is being used to create new ones. The KSA has yet to decide what the criteria for these new awards will be.
“We looked at the reserves this year and it doesn’t make sense to have all this money just sitting there when we can use it for awards, topping up our endowment awards and creating new awards,” says Ramini.
The new budget will also change the way that clubs and events are funded. Support funding for clubs has been decreased from $50,000 to $35,000 because, according to Ramini, these funds were not being used in full. In addition, the $15,000 fund specifically for multicultural events has been merged into the amount allocated to general event funding.
The finance committee has created several new line items for the clubs and events worksheet: $8,000 for club expenses up to $300, $25,000 for KSA-led events, and $5,000 for student-led events. The student-led events funding was added so that students who are not affiliated with a club but want to hold an event on campus will have money available to do so.
“I’m very proud of [the changes to clubs and events funding], and we didn’t have to pull any money from reserves. We stuck with what we have,” says Ramini.
Other changes include an additional $15,000 for Active KSA events, $5,000 for the newly introduced healthy living workshops, and a $10,000 cut towards funding for the planned student union building.
The finance committee has also introduced spending authorities in this budget. This means that certain KSA staff members will be able to use funds for line items applicable to their position without having to wait for the expense to be approved at an executive meeting. Staff with spending authorities will still need to submit expense reports for all funds used.