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General Activity Fee Budgeting Guidelines

SA Finance Committee and UAFBC membership

These are the individuals responsible for recommending all General Activity Fee (GAF) allocations to the South Dakota State University (SDSU) President.

Members of the Students’ Association (SA) Finance Committee are selected by the SA Finance Chair and the SA Vice President. It requires a minimum of five (5) SA Senators, either the SA President or Vice President as an ex officio member and is chaired by the SA Finance Chair.

University Activity Fee and Budgeting Committee (UAFBC) is comprised of thirteen (13) members including three (3) faculty members (At-Large), one (1) Career Service member nominated by the Career Service Advisory Council, one (1) Professional Staff/NFE member (from a unit not funded by General Activity Fee) nominated by the Professional Staff Advisory Council, one (1) Academic Dean or Associate Dean nominated by the Provost, one (1) Student Association (SA) President, one (1) SA Vice President, one (1) SA Finance Chair, three (3) current SA Senators (two of these representatives must not be serving on the SA Finance Committee) nominated by the Students’ Association and one (1) student Residence Hall member nominated the Residence Hall Association (RHA). Committee members will serve three-year staggered terms and can serve two successive terms. Students will serve a one-year term.

General Activity Fee (GAF) dollars may fund:

  1. Student organizations or events that provide a service to all SDSU students.
  2. Events that enhance all SDSU students’ knowledge including arts, health, humanities and sciences (i.e. the Music Council).
  3. Events that provide all SDSU students free or reduced admission prices to them (i.e. Prairie Reparatory Theatre, State University Theatre, Safe Ride).
  4. Organizations that represent SDSU in competition (i.e. Quarter-Scale Tractor Team).
  5. Operation of a facility on campus that benefits all SDSU Students (i.e. the Union, Miller Wellness Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Accessibility, KSDJ).

General Activity Fee (GAF) dollars may not fund:

  1. Organizations that are not SDSU recognized student organizations, except those listed above.
  2. Organizations who have not submitted a complete Uniform Budget Request Form, unless approved by the SA Finance Committee.
  3. Any organization that has flagrantly violated UAFBC or SA directions (i.e. organizations that knowingly violated the Budgeting Guidelines).
  4. Charities or Fundraisers may not be funded unless it can be demonstrated that General Activity Fee (GAF) dollars makes it free for all SDSU students to attend and participate.
    1. Groups receiving GAF dollars must demonstrate that monies received cover costs for students to attend for free and do not just subsidize raised funds, which would have otherwise paid those operational costs.
  5. Organizations that use funding to either advance any candidate or ballot issue in an off-campus election or finance off-campus lobbying or political activities of non-students.*
  6. Organizations or events with the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion.
  7. Operational budgets of organizations with a closed social or academic membership.
  8. Events or organizations whose sole purpose is advertising and/or recruiting for SDSU. (Groups must be able to demonstrate that GAF dollars does not fund events with the main intent to recruit future students to SDSU.)

*This section does not prohibit a student governance body, recognized by the institution, whose leadership is popularly elected by the students, from using GAF to communicate its position on behalf of all students, either through lobbying efforts before legislative bodies or through publicity communicating its positions on initiated or referred measures.

Things to consider when allocating GAF:

These are important to pay attention to as they help standardize the budgeting process.

  1. Travel/Lodging/Food/Beverages – this is considered on a case-by-case basis. Most organizations should attempt to fund these items with non-GAF dollar allocations.
  2. Student involvement:
    1. How many participants are there in an organization?
    2. How many students utilize the services or activities provided by a department or organization?
  3. GAF dollars may only be allocated to cover expenses related to scholarships or awards if the student receiving the award is providing a service to all students.
  4. Budgeting Histories – Histories are a valuable tool in determining the worth of funding for a particular organization. Organizations with a budget history will have to demonstrate they have spent monies allocated in the past wisely. Those groups without a history should demonstrate spending habits on fundraised monies and need to have clear direction on how funds are spent.
  5. An organization’s fundraising efforts shall have a positive impact on the budget process. Organizations should maintain or decrease the percentage of GAF of allocation of their total budget each year if possible.
  6. Organizations found to have abused GAF dollars will receive a written notice in the organization’s file. This notice will be read each year for two (2) years after the incident. This notice is a recommendation to UAFBC and the SA Senate from previous UAFBC and SA members on budgetary issues.
  7. Academic organizations must produce a written memo from the dean or their department head stating why the individual college cannot fund their organization before they are eligible to receive GAF dollars.
  8. Groups with a large balance forward from the previous year (i.e. those <5% of the previous year’s budget) need better budgeting tactics for the future.
  9. Large increases from year to year need proper identification and explanation.
  10. GAF requests should not be 100% of the student organization’s total budget.
  11. All GAF requests must fit within budgeting guidelines as listed previously.

Special Allocation Fund Information 

Limit: $7,500/FY

Special allocations are not to support ongoing operational costs. This allocation is requested for use when an organization has a substantial budget shortfall and needs money to support a specific, one-time event.

  1. An organization must give 3 weeks’ notice before the SA Senate hearing is scheduled unless otherwise directed by the SA President and Finance Chair.
  2. The Finance Committee will meet and review all special allocations and give a recommendation to the SA Senate unless otherwise directed by the SA President.
  3. Special allocations requested after the new SA Senate takes office will not be allocated until the next FY unless approved by the Finance Chair.
  4. If it is possible to fundraise for the event, the organization will be asked to do so before scheduling the Finance Committee hearing.
  5. The request must qualify under Budgeting Guidelines.
  6. The SA/UAFBC reserves the right to allocate all, part or none of the available monies.
  7. The SA/UAFBC reserves the right to deny any request.

New Venture Fund Information 

Limit: $3,500/FY 

The purpose of the New Venture Fund is to help new and existing organizations that are not currently receiving General Activity Fees to request funds outside of the normal budget cycle.

  1. Although the New Venture Fund is also available to existing organizations, priority is given to new organizations or those organizations that are new to the budgeting process.
  2. An event for all SDSU students most times is a special allocation, however, for organizations that have never received funding it may be New Venture fund allocation.
  3. The organization requesting New Venture funds may receive funding for a specific event only once.
  4. The organization requesting New Venture funds may not receive funds from the New Venture Fund more than once in any five-year period.
  5. The organization requesting New Venture funds must be an approved SDSU Organization.
  6. All requests must qualify under the Budgeting Guidelines.
  7. The Finance Committee shall review all New Venture Fund applications. A recommendation will be issued to the SA Senate from the Finance Committee.
  8. Organizations requesting New Venture funds may not be receiving money through the regular
  9. budgeting process.
  10. The SA/UAFBC reserves the right to allocate all, part or none of the available monies.
  11. The SA/UAFBC reserves the right to deny any request.

Speaker Fund Information

Limit: $15,000/FY

Speaker Fund allocations are granted to support the costs of bringing speakers, lectures or presentations of an academic or educational nature to campus for events open to all students or to support costs associated with such events (such as equipment, technology, stage setup, etc.).


  1. The student organization contacts the Students’ Association (SA) Finance Chair.
  2. The SA Finance Chair verifies that the request is valid according to the General Activity Fee Budgeting Guidelines and refers the student organization to the University Program Council (UPC) President.
  3. The student organization completes the Speaker Fund request paperwork provided by UPC, including a budget breakdown for the event.
  4. The student organization submits the completed Speaker Fund request paperwork to the UPC President. The UPC President forwards the completed Speaker Fund request paperwork to the UPC Advisor and the SA Finance Chair.
  5. The UPC President, UPC Advisor and the SA Finance Chair review the completed request paperwork and coordinate with the student organization about any errors, missing parts or questions.
  6. The UPC President schedules a hearing with the Speaker Fund Committee, comprised of the UPC board and the SA Finance Chair as a non-voting ex officio member. The Speaker Fund Committee hearing should be scheduled within two (2) weeks after receipt of the fund request. A representative(s) from the student organization will present the budget request to the Speaker Fund Committee. These presentations are short and informal (typically 30 minutes or less). The student organization representative(s) should be prepared to answer questions from the committee about the organization’s budget and funding request.
  7. The Speaker Fund Committee votes on a recommended allocation. This recommendation could be the full requested amount, part of the requested amount or none of the requested amount.
  8. The UPC President forwards the recommendation to the SA Finance Chair along with all fund request paperwork. The SA Finance Chair finalizes the allocation recommendation with their signature and communicates the recommended allocation to the student organization.
  9. The SA Finance Chair refers the funding recommendation to accounting staff in order to transfer the funds to the student organization’s student fee index (account).


  1. Speakers, lectures or presentations that receive Speaker Fund allocations must be of an academic or scholarly nature or must enhance SDSU students’ educational and/or cultural knowledge (e.g., research talk, guest lecture by a visiting professor, presentation by an expert on their area(s) of expertise, presentation by a public figure about a relevant and timely issue in the public sphere). 
    1. Speaker Fund allocations may not fund performances or acts that have the primary purpose of entertaining or showcasing skill in the performing arts (e.g., comedians, musicians, dancers, performance groups). 
    2. The speaker’s presentation should be the primary focus of the event for which the Speaker Fund request is made.
    3. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the SA Finance Chair.
  2. Events for which Speaker Fund allocations are made must be held on the SDSU campus and must be open to all students.
  3. There is hereby designated a Speaker Fund Committee comprised of the University Program Council board and the Students’ Association Finance Chair as a non-voting ex officio member.
  4. Organizations must submit completed Speaker Fund request paperwork a minimum of one (1) month before the date of the event unless otherwise authorized by the SA Finance Chair.
  5. The request must qualify under the General Activity Fee Budgeting Guidelines.
  6. The Speaker Fund request should not be 100% of the budget for the event.
  7. If it is possible to fundraise for the event, the organization will be asked to do so before scheduling the Speaker Fund Committee hearing.
  8. If the event is a recurring event held annually by the student organization, the student organization should identify in their fund request how the event will be funded in the future.
  9. Pursuant to SDSU policy (see SDSU Policy and Procedures Manual 5:14, 6:9), the host organization must advertise the opportunity to seek accessibility accommodations for the event and make every reasonable effort to provide reasonable accommodations in an effective and timely manner.
  10. Speaker Fund requests made after the new SA Senate takes office (after the second Monday in April) will not be processed until the next fiscal year unless otherwise directed by the Finance Chair.

Overall evaluation of a budget:

Review the organization’s expenditures, contributions from other organizations, departmental and supplementary funding, goals, number of students involved, overall impact on campus, etc.

General Budgeting Process Outline

  1. Student organization discusses budget proposal with the SA Finance Chair.
  2. GAF request is submitted to SA Finance Chair and reviewed; recommend changes.
  3. Student organization presents to the SA Finance Committee, committee asks questions, moves to committee discussion and votes on their recommendation (pass/fail, dollar amount, adjustment to request).
  4. SA Finance Committee makes the recommendation to the SA Senate in the budget hearing and the student organization presents their budget, answers questions; roll call vote of approval of dollar amount and budget.
  5. University Activity Fee and Budgeting Committee (UAFBC) reviews SA Senate budgeting recommendations. UAFBC passing vote yields final approval of the recommendation.
  6. The university president has final approval in regard to all GAF allocations.

Speaker Fund FY limit: $15,000

New Venture Fund FY limit: $3,500

Special Allocation Fund FY limit: $7,500

Date adopted: Nov. 2, 2010

Revised: April 13, 2020