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Money to come from reserve account of contingency funds The Student Activities Council will be allocating an extra $245,330 in contingency funds to student groups during the next few years, SAC Steering Chairperson and College senior Graham Robinson said. He said the funds will go to deserving projects that might have otherwise been overlooked due to lack of resources. This money is part of a $473,718 SAC reserve account which contains SAC revenue carry-over that has built up over the past few years, according to Lynn Moller, financial administrator for student activities. She said this account has grown so much because groups have not been spending all of their allocated funding. Moller added that this money will now be used for anything agreed upon by SAC and the Undergraduate Assembly treasurer. Robinson said he thinks the money should be allocated to groups over a five-year period. "This doesn't make it so long that the money loses value, but it is also a long enough period of time to be sure we are using that money in an efficient way," he explained. The University requires that $100,000 remain in a cushion account, so if one of the branches of student government goes into debt, the University does not end up paying for it. Moller said the reserve account has served this function in the past, since it typically contains more than $100,000. But she added that it has rarely been used for that purpose. Robinson said he will be discussing with the leaders of the branches of student government the best way to set up a new, separate account to serve as a cushion fund, since he feels the reserve account should no longer serve this cushion purpose. He said he thinks the UA should oversee the establishment of this new account, with each branch contributing some money. The $473,718 reserve account includes $112,207 from SAC groups' outside revenues, which will only remain in the account temporarily, Robinson said. He emphasized that the groups are still in control of their portion of these funds. And Moller estimated that there is as much as $20,000 in the account that has been factored into groups' budgets, but has not yet cleared through the University's system. Most of this money is for "general stuff that is put through at the end of the fiscal year but didn't get paid for at the time," she said. Once paperwork is completed and the money clears through the University's system, it will be subtracted from the $473,718, Moller added. Robinson said the rest of the account is filled with funds allocated to groups that were not spent. For the past few years, carry-over revenue has averaged $73,000, he said. Moller said last year was the first time she noticed that there was going to be carry-over, so she told SAC to allocate an additional $52,000 to student groups during its annual allocations. And $44,181 of the money is SAC's contingency fund from last year, which was included in last spring's allocations, Moller said. That leaves $245,330 in contingency funds sitting in the account. In the November 21 issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian, columnist Mike Nadel, a College senior, suggested that the $473,000 account was being used as a slush fund -- that groups' carry-over was used in order to pay for the debt incurred by class boards and the Student Planning and Events Committee. Moller said the fund has never been used to cover a SPEC debt. When SPEC incurred a debt last year the group paid for it out of its own reserve fund, she added. Nadel said most groups are not aware that they must fill out a form requesting their carry-over. Otherwise it gets transferred to the central account. Moller denied last week that this is the case. She said if groups neglect to fill out the form, SAC Finance contacts them about carrying over their funds. SAC Steering has recently come up with a reform proposal. Part of its plan is to eliminate the Office of Student Life Activities and Facilities carry-over request form altogether in order to streamline the system. The entire proposal will be presented at tomorrow's SAC meeting.

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