Allocating money for Student Programs

In order to determine how the services and activities budget will be distributed in the 2016-2017 school year, a committee comprised of four students and three advisers met between 12:30 and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5 and Wednesday, April 6. During these meetings, representatives of some student programs presented their budgets to the committee as well as why they were hoping for that specific budget. Assistant Dean of Student Programs Faisal Jaswal explained that these presentations are about “why they might be asking for money, why they might be asking for more money, [and] what they are going to do with the money.” The whole process is based on what is best for the students of the school.

James Torrence and Faisal Jaswal participate in the committee.
James Torrence and Faisal Jaswal participate in the committee.

Not every group presented, only the groups that were asking for a change in their budgets from the previous year’s budget did so. This is because of Bellevue College’s policy of not cutting any programs. The programs that don’t present “feel fairly comfortable that if they request the same amount that they did last year, it would be honored and so they don’t have to present,” said Chris Stoynov, program manager of Student Programs in charge of finance. Stoynov is the one who compiled all of the budget requests together and prepared budget tables on a computer to show during presentations.

Even though it was mostly program advisers who presented, the whole system was created to benefit the students and to provide transparency to the general student population. There is a majority of students on the committee, two of them from the ASG and two of them being students not involved in any programs at all. Therefore, students get to decide where the money they paid as tuition and fees is going. This budget funds the ASG, the Academic Success Center, PALS, Peer-to-Peer, BC sports and many more organizations designed to help and benefit students. “S&A money is used to create jobs, used to create engagement, and used to create a sense of community,” said Jaswal, “it’s very inclusive and very student-centric.”

As well as being focused on students, Bellevue College’s method of spending money is different from that of most other colleges. “Our budget is run on actuals,” said Brandon Lueken, program coordinator of Student Programs. “We know exactly how much money we have in the budget and we don’t have to speculate.” Having a budget that runs on actuals means that Bellevue College spends the money that was collected in recent years rather than the money they think they will have in the next year. This reinforces Bellevue College’s policy of not cutting any groups or laying people off because all the money the groups want to spend is already in the bank. “We have around two million dollars in the bank and we are going to spend all two million dollars because we have it already,” said Jaswal.

This is not the last step in this budget process. The committee submits a proposed budget on the Tuesday after the meetings and organizations can appeal to get more if need be or if a mistake was made. The budget is then sent to the ASG and then to the VP and president of the college, according to Jaswal. The final budget is expected to be released by June.