UCF organizations face hefty cuts despite overall budget increase
Even with an additional $1.1 million going toward UCF's Activity and Service Fee Budget, several organizations will see drastic cuts — in total, a whopping $46,536.
The budget hearing held in December revealed that many of the organizations that will start operating on lower allowances are some of the most popular at UCF — including branches of the Student Government Association, Homecoming and Campus Activities Board.
"A lot of what we cut were more extra requests instead of budget cuts," said A&SF Budget Chairman and SGA Vice President Sydney Altfield.
A&SF budget funds stem from the fee that each student pays per credit hour; the current fee is $11.67 per credit hour. The current A&SF budget still awaits approval from SGA President Weston Bayes, UCF President John C. Hitt and other departments, and will fund aspects of more than 15 different departments and agencies on campus.
The total $18.6 million budget is a 6.3 percent increase from last year's budget, which could mean a higher A&SF for students.
Although there's still a long way to go until the budget is finalized, said David Oglethorpe, coordinator for the Office of Student Involvement, students could see an uptick in tuition if there's a fee increase.
In fact, the University Fee Committee recommended raising the fee to $12.01 — a 34-cent increase.
But while the committee is working with $1.1 million more than last year, some departments such as the Multicultural Student Center saw significant cuts, with a decrease of $22,447 from last year. The cuts will affect the amount allotted for MSC's programming and events, with a $10,000 cut from that category alone.
SGA's executive branch saw a $8,444 decrease mostly shaved from the amount allotted for the branch's promotional items.
These are extra necessities that aren't affecting what the organizations or departments were used to working with last year, Altfield said.
Altfield said that as the committee was debating the requests during the budget hearing, the members were discerning which budget changes would affect students the most. To determine areas to be cut, the committee ranked the requests it thought were most beneficial for students versus ones that were not as beneficial.
While some departments had a decrease in funding, other individual budgets increased, such as that of OSI, which was increased by about $90,000.
Of all the projects A&SF will be funding, Altfield said she is most looking forward to establishing the new OSI resource center for registered student organizations, estimated to open in the Student Union in fall 2015.
2015-16 A&SF Budget Cuts
Multicultural Student Center: -$22,447
Student Government Executive Branch: -$8,444
Student Government Judicial Branch: -$3,150
Student Government Elections Commission: -$2,750
Campus Activities Board: -$2,665
Student Government A&SF Committee: -$1,800
Total cuts: $46,536
Nada Hassanein is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @nhassanein_ or email her at NadaHCentralFloridaFuture.com.