Finance Questions



"How do we request funding?"

  • Student organizations in good standing have the privilege to request funds from the Student Life fund for travel, events, and equipment. However, student organizations should first search for alternative funds such as donations, fund raising, sponsorship by appropriate campus departments, etc). They can submit a funding request after they've raised as much money on their own as possible (refer them to OrgSync for more funding resources and information about how to submit the request. The link for funding information is found HERE).
  • Demonstration of multiple funding sources (vs relying on the Student Life Fund) often increases the chances of a funding request being granted.

"How much money can I request?"

  • Funding requests for travel are capped at $2,000 total for an organization per semester, and no more than $400 per student.
  • Funding requests for events technically do not have any limits. However, large requests generally do not receive full funding.
  • Regardless of the amount of money being requested, the question you should ask your organization is: "What have you done to raise money for this event? Have you tried fundraising, finding sponsors or donors, or asked campus departments? Have you exhausted all other options?" 
  • If your organization is requesting a large amount of money ($2,000 or more), your organization must meet with Valerie Guzman in the Office of Student Life to discuss your request.

“I’m pretty sure our event will get funded, can I start buying stuff now?”      

  • NO! Do not make any purchases PRIOR to being approved for funding. Any purchases made by your organization prior to being approved will NOT be retroactively reimbursed.

"Do we need to set-up a bank account?"

  • Not necessarily. Funding from the Student Life fund is stored in an account in the Office of Student Life. However, your organization cannot add money to this Student Life account as if it were their bank. If your organization collects dues, fundraises, or has other sources of income, you may consider opening an off-campus bank account.
  • To set up an account, off-campus banks requires that your organization is assigned an Employer Identification Number (EIN) number. An EIN number is designated through the IRS. For more information on this process click here.
  • Once the organization receives the EIN paperwork, drop a copy off at the Office of Student Life. You are now free to open a bank account! We strongly recommend that the organization adds you, as their advisor, as a co-signer on the account.
  • Please note that the student organization itself is responsible for the oversight of the off-campus account; the Office of Student Life does not have access to it or oversight of it.

“Can my organization get funding to go on a fun field trip?”

  • Extremely unlikely. Travel-related funding is reserved for conferences and experiences that are pertinent to the organization’s mission/purpose.

"Can I get funding to bring food to events?"

  • It depends. All Student Senate funding must go towards events that are free and open to all students. So, if they are asking for money for pizza for a general weekly meeting; it would be denied.
  • If your organization is requesting food, the food must be provided through GVSU Catering. Outside food (Little Caesars, Peppinos, other catering, etc.) will not be funded and is not permitted by the university for any public events!

"If we don't use all the money we were awarded, can we spend it elsewhere?"

  • No. Student Senate funding is "use it or lose it". If the awarded funds are not used, it will be returned to the Student Life fund automatically.
  • Also, funding can only be used towards the budget item requested. For example, if your organization asked for $400 in catering, but only used $300, the remaining $100 cannot be used to purchase any other expenditure for the event. This is why it is important that your organization takes their time submitting the budget request so it is as accurate and detailed as possible.

"Do I have to use my own money to pay for programs and events?"

  • No! The Office of Student Life has a variety of ways to pay for approved expenses. Payments can be made via invoice, department transfer, or credit card. Purchasing Cards are available to check out AFTER funding has been approved. Expenditures paid on the purchasing card require a receipt and must be tax exempt. If tax is charged to the item, your organization is responsible for reimbursing the Office of Student Life for the cost of taxes.
  • If your organization has already been approved for funding and your student wants to use their own money, they can complete a reimbursement form after the purchase has been made.

"I found someone to perform at our event, is it okay that I sign the contract for them to come here?"

  • No! Students are never permitted to sign contracts on behalf of Grand Valley State University.
  • Advisors are also not permitted to sign contracts on behalf of the Office of Student Life.
  • Any contracts for performers MUST be signed by a full-time staff member in the Office of Student Life after funding has been approved for the event. If the contract is signed by the Advisor or any member in the organization, that individual can be held financially liable to pay the bill.

Page last modified September 29, 2017