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The Anatomy Of Student Activity Fees: Standing Allocations

With the addition of the new Student Fee Board to determine the Student Initiated Fee, each line item funded by student fees is being scrutinized from a new perspective. The way the system is currently operating, the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC) maintains responsibility for standing allocations.

But what does that even mean, anyway? What is a standing allocation?

You can read the official definition from the UPAC handbook below.

A Standing Allocation is one in which the organization serves some type of campus-wide programming need that contributes to the well-rounded experience of all University Park students. Organizations with Standing Allocation Status must have the capacity to follow through with their funding requests. Organizations with Standing Allocation Status are eligible to receive UPAC funding for their campus-wide programming expenses.

Basically, if you’re an organization serving the entire student body through a “programming need,” you might be eligible for a standing allocation. Student organizations can normally apply for UPAC funding on a case-by-case basis for specific activities. If UPAC approves the standing allocation request, the organization will receive a lump sum of student activity fee money to be used in its programming efforts throughout the year.

These organizations currently have standing allocation status:

  • Bryce Jordan Center
  • Center for Performing Arts
  • Center for Women Students
  • Child Care Subsidy
  • LGBTQA Student Resource Center
  • Office of Student Activities
  • Office of Student Orientation and Transition Programs
  • Paul Robeson Cultural Center
  • Recreation Sports
  • Student Programming Association (SPA)
  • Homecoming
  • Movin’ On

To apply for a standing allocation, all an organization needs to do is submit a petition to the UPAC Chair requesting its allocation status be changed to standing. Of course there are a few other criteria: The organization must be a recognized student organization or university affiliate, have a sole purpose of serving a campus-wide programming need, and have the capacity to follow through with requests. Beyond that, UPAC needs to approve the request by a two-thirds vote.

Organizations who already have a standing allocation are required to submit their projected budgets for UPAC to review each year; the allocation can’t be decreased by more than 10 percent from the previous year unless the committee votes on the reduction by two-thirds or the organization voluntarily requests that much less.

Most of the request caps UPAC sets for organizations don’t apply to those with standing allocation status, but most notably, standing allocation organizations can’t spend more than $250,000 in honoraria (read: payment for speakers or performers).

If you’re still not sure why you should care, remember: This is all funded by your student activity fee. The free stuff on campus can’t really be free, after all — think twice next time you see a camel on Old Main Lawn or snag a discounted Kanye ticket. Most students don’t even realize when they pay their Bursar bill that almost $1,000 per year is mandatory student fees that isn’t part of tuition and doesn’t go directly to in-class educational activities.

All standing allocation hearings are open to the public. Look out for more information about the next one.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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