The student government managed to provide funding for more travel grant requests after their fund allowing students to travel dipped dangerously low last week.
Before an Associated Students of Madison Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Reserve Board convened to discuss how to handle the low funds.
Board members sifted through multiple ways to supplement the fund, including using reserve funds, adding it into ASM’s internal budget and transferring money from other grant funds.
Last week, Finance Committee heard an unusual amount of travel grants and, by the end of the night, only had $1,200 left to allocate for the rest of the semester.
At the time, the committee still had 20 travel grant requests yet to be heard.
Student Services Finance Committee Chair Matt Manes said he was told the board should not dip into reserves to build up the funds for the remaining requests.
Instead, Manes said the money should be added through adding it as an extra line-item in ASM’s internal budget if the board decided to add funds to the travel grant fund.
Student Council Chair Brandon Williams said he was apprehensive about adding money to the travel grant or transferring money from other grant funds.
“Travel is the least important of grants,” Williams said. “It takes things away from campus and doesn’t bring as much back as on-campus events.”
Williams added he did not foresee the total amount in the travel grant fund to increase in upcoming semesters because it does not provide as much for the campus as other grants do.
The board decided to postpone voting on how to handle the travel grant fund and decided to allow the Finance Committee to have $25,000 for deficit spending in order to cover more travel grant requests.
“For the moment, considering the Finance Committee has [travel] grants on the agenda, we need to go ahead and deficit fund it,” said Matt Manes, Student Services Finance Committee chair.
The Finance Committee heard a total of 14 travel grants during the meeting on Tuesday but was only able to fund 12 grants entirely.
A travel grant for the Wisconsin Singers was partially funded, and a grant for the Capital Grant Club was heard by the committee but was not given funding immediately after their hearing due to insufficient funds.
Finance Committee Chair Matt Beemsterboer said the committee would probably be able to fund the requests with money left over from last semester once they resolve how much is left.
There were groups who did not use all of the funds from the travel grants they received last semester and that money could be put back into the travel grant fund, Beemsterboer said.
There is every indication that the leftover amount should be enough to cover the last two grants in their entirety, Beemsterboer said.
Beemsterboer added after those two grants are provided for, travel grant fund allocation will be done for the semester.
“Effectively, we are done with travel grants unless we find out we have a lot more in surplus,” Beemsterboer said.
Williams said Finance Committee may need to reconsider how it is spending its money.
The committee should reduce the amount that it gives out for individual grants, Williams said.
“My suggestion is to give out smaller grants to more groups,” Williams said.