Breakdown of ASCSU budget system

Austin Fleskes

The Associated Students for Colorado State University serve a number of roles for CSU and its members. One of these purposes includes budgeting — breaking down who gets what money, where the money comes from and how it can be used.

However, many students on campus are not aware of how the ASCSU budget system works or how it is broken down. 

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The budgeting system for ASCSU is overseen by two individuals: Robert Leonard, the director of finance, and Kyle Steinhoff, the controller. 

“Each administration decides how they want to run this office each year,” Leonard said. “Kyle takes the internal ASCSU spending and I take the (Board for Student Organization Funding) grant.” 

Part of Steinhoff’s responsibilities as Controller for ASCSU is working on and managing the Controller Book.

The Controller Book, which helps catalog and work out the spending within ASCSU, is broken up by department, such as the president, vice president, finance, innovation tech and beyond into each department, each with their own breakdown.

These breakdowns are put together with each new administration, and while administrations are given advice on how it can be set up, it is up to the discretion of the administration.

“We really strive for each department to do what they want and implement new ideas and themes, within reason” Steinhoff said. “Obviously, we don’t a bunch of loose stuff and money going places we don’t agree with.”

Departments looking for funding will fill out a Request for Financial Documentation form, which includes who the payment is for, why it is needed, when it is needed by, where the event or reason for funding will be, what the event is and how many people will be in attendance, as well as what the goal of the event or reason is. The form then must be approved by the president and vice president of ASCSU as well as either Steinhoff or Leonard. 

“That’s kind of a safety precaution,” Steinhoff said. “That way no one can come in and be like, ‘I want to get x, y and z,’ and then they can just go out and spend. The president, VP and chief of staff will look into it and see if it is a good use of our funds.”

While Steinhoff controls the internal side of budgeting, Leonard is in charge of the Board for Student Organization Funding.

The primary purpose of BSOF is to allocate a portion of the ASCSU Student fee, which is approved by the Board of Governers of the CSU System, to registered student organizations (RSO) for “educational and cultural programming and to administer relevant provisions of Article VIII of the ASCSU Constitution,” according to the ASCSU Department of Finance website

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BSOF also assists registered student organizations in fundraising and “discovering alternative income sources.”

An RSO can come to ASCSU to request funding for anything from room reservations to honorariums for speakers. However, some items such as food or raffle tickets are not funded, as explained in the BSOF bylaws. 

If a group wants to put on an event, they apply through BSOF and come to present their reasoning, and they are either approved or not approved by the BSOF board. 

Leonard explained most of the funding spent by ASCSU generally goes towards senate bills, which are pulled from a discretionary fund.

“That’s what it exists for. For bills and things like that, for ASCSU to do things,” Leonard said. “Individual director budgets aren’t that big in comparison.” 

Leonard and Steinhoff explained the system runs very smoothly.

“There are a lot of checks,” Leonard said. “Even if we have an oversight, it’s really hard for more money to be spent than there is.”

Steinhoff explained that both he and Leonard will check over the others work, with assistance from the Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement office, who helps to oversee funding and budgeting. 

“It’s not impossible for people to overspend, but it would be really hard,” Steinhoff said. 

Collegian reporter Austin Fleskes can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Austinfleskes07.