By: Steven Prescott
SGA strives to be the voice of the student body. SGA members are elected to represent the powerful voice to the Tennessee Board of Regents and the APSU’s administration. There are over 10,000 registered students at APSU, all of which are represented by SGA.
Last year, SGA debated passage of Act No. 10, nicknamed the “Transparency Act”, which passed last year at a March 2016 SGA meeting. The Act requires SGA leadership to present a generalized, projected budget to the student body for the upcoming session as well as a precise budget showing the previous year’s expenditures.
The act was co-authored by former SGA Vice President Dylan Kellogg.
“This is like a report card,” Kellogg said last year. “It is not trying to expose anything. It is just showing students what good we are doing.”
After passing the legislation, SGA representatives were able to provide more information to students about its spending.
As of last year, APSU’s student government had the lowest SGA fee in the entire TBR system at $5. While APSU is no longer governed by the TBR, the fee still remains lower than comparably sized institutions in this region.
SGA has the authority to recommend fee increases, as it has done in the past with other student fees. Previous TBR reports indicate that almost every school, including APSU, used student government’s approval of fee increases to raise costs in previous years.
Despite these setbacks, SGA has amassed an enormous balance sheet. SGA President Frank Burns, who takes ownership of the budget, estimated the figure to be north of $300,000.
SGA received $92,690 in income last year. Specific income sources were not released with the budget report.
“The student SGA fee is our sole source of income,” President Burns said.
Last year SGA spent $87,866. The remaining $4,800 would then be expected to be deposited into the same overflow account.
The largest expense SGA faces is the funding of student organizations and their activities, which it delegates to the Student Organization Council’s Finance committee.
SGA is usually expected to allot $30,000 a year to the SOC. Last year $22,700.72, which is a little over 75% of that amount, was disbursed to student orgs.
Professional development expenses totaled $11,375 and executive board expenses totaled $5,293.68. This does not include officer scholarships of $12,455.37.
SGA’s biggest traditions, such as Mudbowl, G.H.O.S.T. and The Big Event cost students $18,648.98.
Another $8,861.00 constituted operational expenses.
Burns noted that he also experienced frustration as a senator when it came to spending money for his own legislative endeavors.
The 2016-2017 budget report was released on July 1, 2017.
“You have to understand senators have committees after committees ready to tell them no,” Burns said.