Last week, Edinboro University Student Government Association (EUSGA) found an additional amount of funds estimated around $750,000 in an EUSGA fund balance account that is supervised by the university. The estimated amount to be in the account by the end of the year is close to a million in excess, which will be confirmed after this year’s annual audit in June of 2015.
The fund account however is separate from the reserve account that EUSGA keeps $100,000 in for emergencies.
“Having this significant budget surplus is such a huge opportunity to invest in the wider campus community and students as a whole. I am very enthusiastic for this to happen,” said Rachel Pollard, EUSGA President. “We look forward to working with Edinboro University, its community and its students on deciding how to best use this newfound resource.”
According to a press release from EUSGA, the additional funds were found through EUSGA’s annual audit.
The release went on to say that the money built up over the years due to “a long-held practice of conservative budgeting in multiple years, and consecutive surpluses that rolled over to the following year.”
Although having an account functioning in this way may seem odd, according to EUSGA Vice President Tyler Jemetz, this is exactly how a fund balance account is supposed to work.
“This account is standard procedure; money rolls over year-to-year based off our budgeting processes,” Jemetz said. “The only unique part of this is simply the amount, but this is the nature of a funds-balance account.”
According to the release, the build up of funds went unnoticed due to transitions among leadership and a lack of communication.
The release stated, “In the past, SGA leaders have done an inadequate job of training incoming members on all the policies and procedures of our organization. Therefore, the time spent ‘learning the ropes’ far surpasses the opportunity to really drive long-term change – especially with large financial projects and issues that require multiple years to complete.”
Edinboro University could also benefit from these additional funds. According to the release EUSGA, Inc. is on contract with the university that retains the right to repossess funding that it allocates, which includes the Student Activity Fee.
Edinboro University President Julie Wollman stressed that the university would ultimately seek to help EUSGA in allotting these funds appropriately rather than simply acquiring them.
“As the president of the university, I am ultimately accountable for the expenditure of the student activity fee. Significant fund balance expenditures require my approval,” Wollman said. “I am confident that the university and SGA can work collaboratively to address student needs. I have encouraged Dr. Kahan Sablo, vice president for student affairs, to serve as a resource to the SGA in their ongoing planning processes.”
At the current moment neither the university nor EUSGA has definitive plans for what to do with the funds, but plans are currently being formulated.
“There are a number of large projects that SGA is looking to pursue in order to better serve the student body. Our objective is to use the money to benefit students today and also 10 years down the road,” the EUSGA press release said. “We in no way plan to spend all this money at once, instead we are formulating a plan to ensure we do have a reserve account in case of emergency, but also ensure we use this money wisely and to benefit the students.”
Logan Lilly is the managing editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at (814) 732-2266.