Funding Policies & Procedures for Registered Student Organizations 2021-2022

These policies are in effect July 1st, 2021 through June 30th, 2022

Funding Purpose

The Office of Student Engagement (OSE) in conjunction with the Registered Student Organization Funding Board (RSOFB) distributes funds collected by the Student Organization Fee to registered student organizations for the purpose of providing programs, projects, and events that help the organizations succeed in meeting their goals and foster positive student development.

Office of Student Engagement

The Office of Student Engagement is the primary liaison for registered student organization funding. They distribute and collect funding applications, advise the Funding Board, manage all student organization fee monies and work with funded organizations to spend and track their allocated money. They do not make any funding decisions.

Registered Student Organization Funding Board (RSOFB)

The Registered Student Organization Funding Board will be the primary decision-making body in allocating the student organization fee to registered student organizations.

Mission

The mission of the RSOFB is to allocate funds to registered student organizations to help them meet their goals and enrich the student experience.

Composition

The Funding Board shall be comprised of 6 members. 3 of whom shall be members of the Associated Students of Montana State University (ASMSU) Senate, 2 of whom shall be students-at-large. The RSOFB Chair will be the Senate Pro Tempore, and will not serve as a voting member unless a tie-breaker is necessary. If the Pro Tempore is absent, a temporary chair position will be designated to a current RSOFB member. The Office of Student Engagement will appoint a staff member to serve as advisor to this board. They will not have any voting rights.  The RSO Funding Assistant will serve as liaison between the RSOFB and student organizations by communicating Funding Board decisions and feedback.

Board Appointments

All appointments will be made at the start of the fall semester, which will comprise that academic years’ board.

  • ASMSU seats will be appointed by the ASMSU Senate.
  • At-large seats will be filled by application, collected by the ASMSU President. All applications will be brought to ASMSU Senate for final vote and approval.
  • If RSOFB seats become vacant, they will be filled by the same method for ASMSU seats and At-large seats.

Responsibilities of Funding Board

The Funding Board will allocate two-thirds of the estimated student organization fee at the end of the spring semester (Mass Funding Pool) for student organization activities/programs to take place over the following academic year. The remaining one-third of the estimated student organization funding (Rolling Funding Pool) will be allocated throughout the academic year. Match Funding will be allocated based on availability of funds. The Funding Board will review the funding applications from eligible registered student organizations and select the organizations that will receive funding using the criteria stated herein. Funding Board will meet weekly from mid-September through April (with the exception of University holidays, breaks and finals weeks). Funding Board shall exercise its discretion to select programs and activities which it believes will provide enrichment of the academic experience of university students and best serve the interests of students at Montana State University. RSOFB will also be responsible for reviewing student organization funding policies, application process and any other funding-related issues or changes.

Training/Orientation

All RSOFB members will go through training and orientation, hosted by the Office of Student Engagement.

Voting

Three voting members will represent a quorum and must be present in order to make funding decisions. The RSOFB Chair will serve as a tie-breaker if necessary. Proxy voting by email for the purposes of meeting quorum or application approval between meetings is allowed. Those not in physical attendance have the right to participate by video conference, subject to any limitation established in rules adopted by the RSOFB.

Conflict of Interest

If a member of the RSOFB has a conflict of interest, they must reveal this to the board and are to abstain from voting. Conflict of interest is defined by if a voting member is a leader or member of an organization whose application is under review.

Budget & Allocations

The maximum allowable amount to be allocated to each organization per academic year shall be determined annually by the RSOFB based upon availability of funds and the level of requests submitted by the registered student organizations. While the RSOFB strives for consistency, a number of factors are considered when approving funding requests. Budget and available funds will fluctuate based on student enrollment.

Club Sports Funding Board

The management of Club Sports Funding is under the Club Sports Executive Board (CSEB).  Club Sports Funding is governed by Club Sports Funding Policies, which is overseen by the CSEB and ASMSU Recreational Sports and Fitness.

Criteria for Funding

To be eligible for funding, the funding proposal and organization must meet the following criteria:

  1. The student organization must be currently registered with the Office of Student Engagement and in good standing (not on probation or revoked status).
  2. The proposal is consistent with the purpose of the registered student organization, as defined in its application.
  3. Events or participation in the program is open to all students of Montana State University.
  4. Program or service is implemented in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, city ordinances and university policies.
  5. For applications submitted outside the time frame of two Funding Board meetings (generally two weeks) before the funding need, the RSOFB cannot guarantee Funding Board review in time for date-specific funding needs.

Permitted and Prohibited Uses of Student Organization Fees

Prohibited Uses. The Funding Board will NOT fund:

  1. Purchase of alcohol or tobacco. NOTE: This excludes any minimum fees for alcohol service with approved university alcohol vendor.
  2. Philanthropic donations, charitable contributions or gifts of any type.
  3. State and Federal Income taxes.
  4. Any organization that does not have open enrollment and does not comply with the anti- discrimination section of the RSO Policies, found HERE.
  5. Any item or activity deemed excessive, not justified, and/or in conflict with the mission of the registered student organization.
  6. Social functions that are not related to a program or educational event.
  7. Payment to members of the organization for any purpose, unless with special approval from funding board.
  8. Funding Board will not accept funding application requests for programs/events/activities that have already occurred or for items already purchased before funding is approved. No retroactive funding.
  1. Academic scholarships.
  2. Bank account fees (initial deposits, overdraft, monthly fees, etc.).
  3. Monetary investment funds.
  4. Firearms and ammunition. NOTE: This excludes targets and firearm accessories.
  5. Damage fees and cancellation fees under the control of the club.
  6. Funding for courses for academic credit, including sending instructors to training or payment to instructors.
  7. Gift cards.

Examples of Approved Permitted Uses. (Note: This is NOT an exhaustive list of permitted uses.)

  1. Seed monies for fundraising activities for the registered student organization.
  2. Registration fees for activities, events or conferences.
  3. Educational programs.
  4. Support for organizational operations such as publicity, supplies, and activities of the registered student organization.
  5. Movies/films to be shown publicly or to advance the purpose of the registered student organization.
  6. Speakers/lectures.
  7. Other activities consistent with the mission of the registered student organization.

Non-Profit Tax Compliance

Student Organizations are required to stay in compliance with the IRS, per guidelines set by ASMSU Legal Services (https://asmsulegalservices.org/student-organization-tax-faqs/).  Registered student organizations are eligible to receive funding to pay the $275 fee for the 1023-EZ form. The 1023-EZ form allows student groups to become tax exempt as long as they file the 990-N form annually to stay in compliance. Student groups can receive this funding only once from the student organization fee pools and if they fall out of compliance again, they are held accountable to pay the $275 fee. In order to seek funding for this fee, student organizations must work with ASMSU Legal Services first to get back into compliance. The RSOFB has the final decision to approve or deny this fee for clubs on a case-by-case basis. Clubs can ask for this funding every six years after they form or become out of compliance for the first time. 

Types of Funding & Processes

The funding pool is broken down into three pools:

Rules

  • The Mass Funding pool is allocated every spring to registered student organizations to use in the following academic year. If a club is allocated Mass Funding in the spring, they are not eligible to spend that money until after July 1st.
  • Two-thirds of the estimated student organization fee comprises this
  • Your eligibility to apply for Mass Funding is determined by the tier completed in the S.O.A.R. Program. To learn more about the program, please visit this website.
  • Another requirement to apply for Mass Funding, your organization must be a registered student organization with OSE no later than the last day of classes of the previous fall semester. For example, you must be registered by Dec. 16th, 2021 to apply for 2022-2023 Mass Funding that opens in Spring. If you are allocated money in the Mass Funding pool, you are not eligible to apply for Rolling Funding the next academic year.
  • A spring application deadline will be set by the Office of Student Engagement.

 

Mass Funding Process

  1. Minimum of one club officer must attend a MANDATORY information session hosted by the Office of Student Engagement and RSOFB. These will be held in February and March before the application deadline.
    1. Applications will not be accepted unless this is attended.
  2. Submit Application. Fill out the Mass Funding application found on CatsConnect. The application will be open in the Spring of 2022 for the 2022-2023 academic year.
  3. Application Review. The Registered Student Organization Funding Board will meet to decide on funding allocations. Organizations will be notified within two weeks of the Funding Board meeting if their funding application was approved and the total amount awarded.
  4. Attend Spending Orientation. An officer from each funded organization must attend an orientation hosted by the Office of Student Engagement at the beginning of the Fall semester to learn the process for spending your allocated money.

Rules

  • The Rolling Funding pool is available to registered student organizations from mid-September to April.
  • One-third of the estimated student organization funding comprises this pool.
  • The maximum amount awarded to an RSO will be $1,000 from this pool of money.
  • Can apply a maximum of twice in an academic year. (i.e. you can ask for $300 in November and then $700 in March). Cannot exceed $1,000 total over the year.
  • This pool is for organizations that may have needs throughout the academic year and did not apply or were not awarded Mass Funding dollars the previous spring. A student organization may choose to reject their Mass Funding allocation and apply for Rolling Funding instead.
  • A weekly application deadline will be set by the Office of Student Engagement.

 

Rolling Funding Process

  1. Before applying, clubs should attend an Application Orientation with the Office of Student Engagement or attend a weekly application workshop with the Club Funding Assistant. Dates/times/location for 2021-22 TBD.
  2. Submit Application. Fill out the Rolling Funding application found on CatsConnect. Applications will open in the Fall. The funding application must be SUBMITTED a MINIMUM of two weeks before the funding is needed.
  3. Application Review. The Registered Student Organization Funding Board will meet to decide on funding allocations. Clubs are encouraged to send a representative to the Funding Board meeting. Organizations will be notified within one week of the Funding Board meeting if their funding application was approved and the total amount awarded.
  4. Schedule Spending Orientation. A representative from the organization (preferably Leader and/or Treasurer) must attend a meeting with the Office of Student Engagement after they have been notified of funding approval to learn the process for spending the allocated funds.
Rules
  • The purpose of the Matching Fund pool is to support registered student organizations in their funding needs as well as encouraging external fundraising. The availability of this pool of money is reassessed every year.
  • The maximum amount a club can request be matched is $750. By applying for $750, the club is committing to fundraise an additional $750. Clubs may only apply once an academic year for the Matching Fund If the club already has Mass or Rolling Funding, they are still eligible to apply.
  • Money must be raised the in the form of financial fundraisers.
    • The role of a fundraiser is to engage the student body whenever possible. Fundraisers can be an event, program, or individual club members participating in events such as the Career Fair, working athletic events, online or in-person raffles, and MSU Giving Day are eligible fundraising events. However, GoFundMe and similar online platforms are not eligible fundraising events for Matching Funding.
  • No in-kind/services.
  • Funds will be released to the student organization as soon as they show proof of money raised. Like the other funding pools, we will not write checks to a club, rather the money will be used for reimbursements,
    • Example: You have raised $200 of your $750 goal. You show proof (see below what constitutes as proof) of raising $200, OSE will release $200 of your $750 total to your club in the form of a reimbursement.
  • Money must be raised in the current academic year. Clubs are eligible to begin fundraising before being approved for the Matching Funding, however, they must be able to show proof of funds raised during the current academic year (see documentation requirements below).
  • Club must raise the money and provide proof of doing so within 30 days of the fundraiser.
  • The permitted and prohibited uses of funds as stated in the RSOFB policies still apply.
    • The Matching Fund will only be available to those who raise money for club expenses. The Matching Funds will not be disbursed to charitable organizations.

Matching Funding Process

Same as Rolling Funding. Please see above.

Documentation Needed of Fundraising:

  1. OSE Fundraising Report Form must be submitted, which will include:
    1. How much total money was raised or donated
    2. How many participants were involved
    3. Copy of event advertisement or other form of proof of
    4. Other information at request from
  2. Copy of deposit slip of funds raised into club bank account.
  3. If applicable, copy of check(s) made to your student organization from your fundraiser.

Matching Funding application and other documentation from the fundraiser must be submitted to OSE within 30 days of the fundraiser.

 

Funds Management

The RSOFB reserves the right to transfer money between funding pools as needed.

Funding Recipient Responsibility

Every club who receives Rolling, Matching, Mass or Club Sports Funding must send at least one representative (prefer leadership) to the Student Organization Leadership Conference held every year. If clubs are unable to send a representative, the Office of Student Engagement will be hosting a series of professional development trainings for clubs throughout the academic year. You will be asked to send a club leader to one of these in lieu of the conference. If your club does not fulfill this training requirement you may risk losing your current funding and/or the next academic years’ club funding eligibility.

Food Policy

  • Student Organizations may not spend more than $100 in club funding on food and beverages at general club meetings for the entire academic year.
    • Special events, programs, etc., is excluded from this cap in spending.
    • Clubs that hold meetings in which food may be relevant to the mission of the club (cooking clubs, cultural clubs, etc.) are excluded from this spending cap at the Funding Board’s discretion.
  • When travelling, only individual full meals and group items (such as items for whole group) are eligible for reimbursement. Individual snacks or small items are not eligible.

Procedures for use of Student Organization Fee Funds

Registered Student Organizations that receive funds from any of the funding pools must work with the Office of Student Engagement to spend their funds. Clubs may access the funds as outlined below:

  1. Student Organizations MUST attend a spending orientation BEFORE they are allowed to spend any of their allocated money.
  2. Funds will not be dispersed in advance and will be used only for direct payment of pre-approved expenses and/or reimbursements for items in the approved budget. All reimbursement will be made payable to the registered student organization, not to individual club members or advisors.
  3. The registered student organization is solely responsible for all expenses that exceed the amount of the allocation awarded to the organization.

Compliance

Failure to follow these processes and timelines may result in loss of future funding:

  • Turning in reimbursement receipts within 30 days
  • Turning in P-Card purchase receipts within 72 hours
  • Turning in travel forms within 10 days

If your student organization does not follow the above, you will receive a written warning first. If any of the above rules are broken a second time, the OSE has the right to revoke eligibility of club funding for one academic year.

The Office of Student Engagement and the Funding Board may suspend or revoke the funding allocation before distribution if the registered student organization has engaged in activities that violate state and/or federal laws or the policies of the university. The funding will be discontinued as of the date of suspension/revocation and no expenses incurred after that date will be paid.

If it is reported that any clubs, club leaders, members or advisors are misusing organization funds, OSE will report to the MSU Dean of Students Office for further investigation. All individuals involved may face disciplinary measures through the MSU Student Code of Conduct and if applicable, state and local laws will apply. The student organization may also face suspension or probation as a registered student organization.

Clubs who have funding, but are in a probation or suspension status with the university will not have access to their allocated funds until probation/suspension is lifted. If not lifted by the end of the current fiscal year, that student organizations’ money will be forfeited.

Appeals Process

Denial of Funding

In the event a club disagrees with the RSOFB’s decision to not fund a club or not fund to the level expected, clubs are able to appeal this decision. The appeal process shall be as follows:

  1. Meet with the staff advisor (OSE staff member) of the RSOFB to discuss.
  2. Make a formal written appeal and make the corrections as outlined by the Funding Board. MUST be made within ONE WEEK of being notified of denial of funding.
  3. Written appeal will be brought to RSOFB for a hearing and voted on during the next weekly meeting.

Suspension or Revocation of Funding

The organization may appeal a decision to suspend or revoke a student organizations’ funding. The appeal process shall be as follows:

  1. The registered student organization shall meet with the Office of Student Engagement within one week of the notice of suspension or revocation.
  2. After the meeting, the Office of Student Engagement, in consultation with the Chair of Funding Board, will determine what, if any, actions can be taken for the student organization to regain eligibility for access to the funding allocation. If the registered student organization fails to correct or is incapable of correcting the violation of policy, the student organization will not receive any funding and will not be eligible to seek funding for the organization for one academic year.

Reserve

If clubs do not spend their entire allocation or all the money was not allocated by June 30th of each year, the money is deposited into the “Registered Student Organization Reserve.” The RSOFB decides if the money will roll over into the following year’s funding pool or if it should remain in that account. The maximum amount to be held in the Reserve Pool is $3,000.

Policy Review

These policies will be reviewed each spring semester voted on by the RSOFB.